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Minimally invasive mitral valve surgery through right mini-thoracotomy: recommendations for good exposure, stable cardiopulmonary bypass, and secure myocardial protection

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An apparent advantage of minimally invasive mitral surgery through right mini-thoracotomy is cosmetic appearance. Possible advantages of this procedure are a shorter ventilation time, shorter hospital stay, and less blood transfusion. With regard to hard endpoints, such as operative mortality, freedom from reoperation, or cardiac death, this method is reportedly equivalent, but not superior, to the standard median sternotomy technique. However, perfusion-related complications (e.g., stroke, vascular damage, and limb ischemia) tend to occur more frequently in minimally invasive technique than with the standard technique. In addition, valve repair through a small thoracotomy is technically demanding. Therefore, screening out patients who are not appropriate for performing minimally invasive surgery is the first step. Vascular disease and inadequate anatomy can be evaluated with contrast-enhanced computed tomography. Peripheral cannulation should be carefully performed, using transesophageal echocardiography guidance. Preoperative detailed planning of the valve repair process is desirable because every step is time-consuming in minimally invasive surgery. Three-dimensional echocardiography is a powerful tool for this purpose. For satisfactory exposure and detailed observation of the valve, a special left atrial retractor and high-definition endoscope are useful. Valve repair can be performed in minimally invasive surgery as long as cardiopulmonary bypass is stable and bloodless exposure of the valve is obtained.

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Correspondence to Toshiaki Ito.

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This review was submitted at the invitation of the editorial committee.

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Ito, T. Minimally invasive mitral valve surgery through right mini-thoracotomy: recommendations for good exposure, stable cardiopulmonary bypass, and secure myocardial protection. Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 63, 371–378 (2015).

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