Journal Article

Cardiac surgery by transxiphoid approach without sternotomy

Henry J.C.M. van de Wal, Miguel Barbero-Marcial, Sylvie Hulin and Yves Lecompte

in European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Published on behalf of European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Volume 13, issue 5, pages 551-554
Published in print May 1998 | ISSN: 1010-7940
Published online May 1998 | e-ISSN: 1873-734X | DOI:
Cardiac surgery by transxiphoid approach without sternotomy

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  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery


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Objective: In a attempt to avoid the potential drawbacks associated with sternotomy coupled with a desire for a smaller scar led us to investigate the transxiphoid approach without sternotomy. We present our preliminary experience and a comparison between the sternal and thoracic approaches. Methods: From June 1996, at the Institut Cardiovasculaire Paris Sud, Massy, France (ICPS) and the Heart Institute, São Paulo, Brazil (HI) the transxiphoid approach was adopted for the correction of selected congenital cardiac defects. The xiphoid was resected through a 6 cm long vertical skin incision. With a special retractor the sternum was elevated cephalad and anteriorly. Closure of the defect was performed in the conventional manner. Twenty-six patients; 17 boys and 9 girls were entered into the study from representing 19 atrial septal defects (ASDs), 4 ventricular septal defects (VSD) and 3 partial atrio ventricular septal defects (AVSD). In addition at ICPS the transxiphoid approach for correction of ASD was compared to the thoracic and sternal approaches performed in the same period. Results: Both the aortic cross clamp time as well as the duration of extracorporeal circulation were increased when compared to either standard sternotomy or thoracotomy approaches. There were no differences within the groups when comparing body surface area, amount of chest drainage or length of either ICU or hospital stay. However the patients in the transxiphoid group showed less pain and respiratory discomfort. Conclusion: Our initial experience with the transxiphoid approach without sternotomy confirms that it is a promising technique that can be considered an alternative to conventional sternotomy. The access is adequate for surgical procedures performed through a right atriotomy. The advantages include a better cosmetic scar, less surgical trauma, minimal respiratory discomfort and a potentially lower risk of infection. However cardiopulmonary bypass and cross clamp times are increased. There were no complications, and patient satisfaction was high.

Keywords: Atrial septal defect; Transxiphoid approach; Minimal invasive surgery

Journal Article.  2050 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine ; Cardiothoracic Surgery

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