Inferior Partial Sternotomy for Surgical Closure of Isolated Ventricular Septal Defects in Children
Background: Surgical closure of isolated ventricular septal defect (VSD) through partial inferior sternotomy offers the advantages of a much shorter, cosmetically superior skin incision, potentially improved sternal stability, a lower rate of infection, and less postoperative pain. We report our technique and results of use of inferior partial sternotomy for closure of isolated VSD in children.
Patients and Methods: From July 2002 to July 2003, 24 consecutive patients with a median age of 4.5 months (range, 1 month-4.5 years) underwent partial inferior sternotomy for isolated VSD closure. The length of the incision ranged from 4 to 6 cm. Special features of the approach included T incision of the lower sternum (from the fourth intercostal space to the xiphoid), establishment of cardiopulmonary bypass with central cannulation, aortic cross-clamping, and cardioplegic arrest. All VSDs were approached through right atriotomy. Perimembranous VSDs were exposed after detachment of the anterior leaflet of the tricuspid valve and were closed with a continuous suture. Muscular VSDs were approached directly. Perioperative and postoperative echocardiographic findings were available for all patients. Follow-up was complete.
Results: There was no mortality or significant surgical morbidity. Median cross-clamping and cardiopulmonary bypass times were 43 and 103 minutes, respectively. All patients were in sinus rhythm. Perioperative and postoperative echocardiography confirmed the absence of any residual defects in perimembranous VSDs and the presence of a trace residual VSD in 4 patients with muscular VSDs. Optimal healing of the partial sternotomy was obtained in all patients.
Conclusions: Inferior partial sternotomy is less invasive than and cosmetically superior to full sternotomy. It provides excellent results when applied to isolated VSD with standard surgical techniques.
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