Anesthetic considerations in robotic mitral valve surgery
The robotic approach to cardiac surgery offers patients numerous potential advantages compared with a traditional sternotomy approach including shorter hospital length of stay, reduced pain, fewer blood transfusions, and a quicker return to normal daily activities. At the same time, robotic cardiac surgery requires that the anesthesiologist employs several subspecialty skillsets in order to provide optimal care for these patients. Multiple different regional anesthesia techniques may be used to improve analgesia, reduce opioid dosages, and facilitate rapid extubation at the conclusion of the case. Several peripheral cannulation strategies for cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) exist and the anesthesia team may assist with percutaneous cannulation of the superior vena cava (SVC) or positioning of an endo-pulmonary vent. Similarly the anesthesiologist may be asked to percutaneously cannulate the coronary sinus for retrograde cardioplegia delivery. The need for one-lung ventilation (OLV) and heavy reliance on transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) occupy much of the anesthesiologist’s attention during these cases. Variations in institutional practice exist. Reviews of current practice and future studies may help refine the anesthetic approach to robot-assisted cardiac surgery.