Most patients needing implantation of a ventricular assist device (VAD) require repeated sternotomy; some after cardiac surgery, and others later for heart transplantation. The purpose of this study was to establish the right thoracotomy technique as an alternative for VAD implantation to reduce repeated sternotomy-related morbidity and mortality. We performed a right thoracotomy in animals, preclinical cadaver fitting tests, and a clinical case. A total of 20 various animals underwent right thoracotomy for implantation of bi-VAD (BVAD, n ≤ 17) and left VAD (LVAD, n ≤ 3). The right chest cavity was entered through the fourth intercostal space with partial resection of the fifth rib. There was no procedure-related morbidity or mortality, except for one calf with right anterior leg paralysis. Preclinical fitting tests were performed on 7 human cadavers to observe the anatomical feasibility of BVAD cannulation from the right side of the heart. In humans, the ascending aorta, interatrial groove, right atrium, and main pulmonary artery were identified as optimal cannula insertion sites for BVAD implantation. A patient with cardiogenic shock underwent a right thoracotomy for implantation of an external LVAD. Cardiac function recovered after 3 weeks, and the device was successfully explanted through a repeat right thoracotomy. In conclusion, a right thoracotomy can be an alternative method to the standard median sternotomy for patients who need repeated sternotomy because of previous cardiac surgery, transplantation at a later date, or those with mediastinal infections.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2006 Jul|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering