Right Parasternal Vertical Approach for Tricuspid Valve Replacement in Repeated Cardiac Surgery

(Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Yamaguchi Prefecture Central Hospital, Hofu, Japan)

Masaya Takahashi Yoshinori Tanimoto Hidetoshi Tsuboi
Kensuke Esato
Median sternotomy is the most common approach used for repeated cardiac surgery, but it is associated with potential risks such as cardiac injury. Patients with valvular heart disease may be especially prone to these complications because of severe cardiomegaly and adherence of the heart to the posterior sternum. To avoid these risks, we began using a right thoracotomy approach, performed through a right parasternal vertical incision, which is better than the traditional right anterolateral thoracotomy, in selected patients. A 50-year-old woman who had undergone 3 previous cardiac operations at another hospital presented with remarkable cardiomegaly. We performed successful tricuspid valve replacement for tricuspid stenosis, through a right parasternal vertical incision. This approach provides excellent exposure of the tricuspid valve with minimal need for dissection. The right parasternal vertical incision has 3 main advantages over right anterolateral thoracotomy; first, it provides an excellent view of the right atrium underneath the wound; second, it allows for easy cannulation because of the position of the spine; and third, the skin incision is smaller. In conclusion, we think that the parasternal vertical incision is a better approach for repeated cardiac surgery than anterolateral thoracotomy because it provides a better operative view and an easier maneuver.
@Jpn. J. Cardiovasc. Surg. 34: 33-36 (2005)