A right infra-axillary thoracotomy can offer excellent exposure of the mitral valve. This study evaluated this incision for high-risk patients undergoing redo mitral valve procedures.
Of a series of 189 patients who had redo mitral valve surgery, 32 were reoperated via vertical infra-axillary thoracotomy based on previous aortic valve replacement, dense adhesion, location of patent bypass grafts, and peripheral vascular disease.
Sternotomy was avoided in all cases. The mitral valve was replaced in 22 patients and repaired in 10 patients; left atrial folding was performed in 6 patients. All patients had uneventful outcomes and normal valve function during follow-up.
Reoperative mitral valve surgeries can be performed safely using right infra-axillary thoracotomy in certain patients. The procedure offers excellent exposure of the mitral valve and minimizes the need for cardiac dissection, thus reducing injury risk. Avoiding a high risk of resternotomy increases patient comfort and safety.