Video assisted right mini-thoracotomy for aortic root replacement
Aortic root replacement is typically performed through a median sternotomy. The right anterior mini-thoracotomy approach has been shown to decrease hospital length of stay in aortic valve surgery when compared to sternotomy. This approach is rare in ascending aortic surgery due to technical challenges which include exposure and annular suture placement. Automated suturing technology is now available to facilitate the placement of annular sutures. The use of a camera greatly enhances visualization of the aortic root. A right anterior mini-thoracotomy is performed via a 5 cm incision in the right second intercostal space with a camera port placed lateral to the incision. Peripheral arterial and venous cannulation are performed. The aortic cross clamp is placed through a 5 mm incision in the third interspace anterior to mid axillary line. Histidine tryptophan ketoglutarate (HTK) cardioplegia is administered and deep hypothermic circulatory arrest is achieved followed by completion of the distal anastomosis with a 4-0 polypropylene running suture. After aortic leaflet removal, annular and prosthetic sutures are placed with shafted instruments or with automated suturing technology. Coronary button suturing and graft-to-graft anastomoses are performed with shafted instruments. Aortic root procedures can be performed safely through a right anterior mini-thoracotomy. The use of a camera and automated suturing technology may further facilitate this procedure, enabling more surgeons to offer this less invasive approach to patients.