Minimally invasive aortic valve surgery: state of the art and future directions
Minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (MIAVR) is defined as an aortic valve replacement (AVR) procedure that involves a small chest wall incision as opposed to conventional full sternotomy (FS). The MIAVR approach is increasingly being used with the aim of reducing the “invasiveness” of the surgical procedure, while maintaining the same efficacy, quality and safety of a conventional approach. The most common MIAVR techniques are ministernotomy (MS) and right anterior minithoracotomy (RT) approaches. Compared with conventional surgery, MIAVR has been shown to reduce postoperative mortality and morbidity, providing faster recovery, shorter hospital stay and better cosmetics results, requires less rehabilitations resources and consequently cost reduction. Despite these advantages, MIAVR is limited by the longer cross-clamp and cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) times, which have raised some concerns in fragile and high risk patients. However, with the introduction of sutureless and fast deployment valves, operative times have dramatically reduced by 35-40%, standardizing this procedure. According to these results, the MIAVR approach using sutureless valves may be the “real alternative” to the transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) procedures in high risk patients “operable” patients. Prospective randomized trials are required to confirm this hypothesis.