Comparison of 3 Different Incisions Used for Atrial-Septal Defect Closure
Background: Surgical closure of atrial-septal defects is now associated with low morbidity and mortality rates. We assessed surgical, cosmetic, and psychological results of 3 different surgical approaches to atrial-septal defect repair.
Methods: Study participants were 82 patients who underwent surgery for atrial-septal defect. Mean age was 21 ± 8 years, and the female:male ratio was 23:59. Patients were divided into 3 groups according to the incision used; group 1 (n = 26), partial lower sternotomy; group 2 (n = 34), right anterolateral thoracotomy via a submammary incision, and group 3 (n = 22), conventional median sternotomy.
Results: There was no operative or late mortality. No significant differences between groups were associated with the surgical technique used. Direct closure was the procedure of choice performed in 53 patients (64.6%). In the remaining patients the repair was performed with a pericardial patch (29 patients, 35.4%). One patient in group 1 required conversion to median sternotomy because transoesophageal echocardiography performed at the operating theater revealed a partial anomalous pulmonary venous connection of right pulmonary veins to the inferior vena cava. This patient was excluded from the study group. All patients were symptom free postoperatively, and control echocardiography revealed a trivial shunt in only 1 patient, with a Qp:Qs ratio of 1.3. Rhythm abnormalities, including atrioventricular block, atrial fibrillation, and flutter, were observed in 7 patients but were found to be unrelated to the surgical incision (P = .3). Cardiopulmonary bypass, cross-clamp, and operative times were longer with minimally invasive approaches; but these differences were not statistically significant. Intensive care unit and hospital stay periods were significantly shorter in groups 1 and 2. During the postoperative follow-up period, patients in groups 1 and 2 showed superior results in satisfaction with their cosmetic outcomes.
Conclusions: With the development of minimally invasive techniques that yield surgical results comparable to those of standard techniques, surgeons have changed their focus from survival to cosmetic and psychological outcomes, especially in the repair of simple cardiac defects. Operations performed via limited skin incisions are surgically safe and provide superior cosmetic and psychological results.
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