Although the advantages of minimally invasive heart surgery (i.e. without opening of the sternum) compared to the traditional surgery for isolated valve diseases are widely proven, limited experience is available on multiple valve diseases, which annual incidence ranges between 3% and 25% of all valve surgeries. Here is our experience of 100 cases of double and triple valve surgery performed through a right anterior mini-thoracotomy (a small incision of 5-6 cm on the right side of the chest).
The advantages of minimally invasive surgery are many and largely documented: reduction of post-op pain, reduction in bleedings and transfusions, better respiratory function, better cosmetic results, reduced hospital stay with no need for rehabilitation, fast recovery of normal life, both family and workwise. Our minimally invasive program began in 2003. After gaining experience on mini-thoracotomy for isolated mitral surgery and then moving on to aortic surgery, we finally came to treat two or three valves simultaneously (mitral/aortic, mitral/tricuspid or mitral/aortic/tricuspid) through the same small incision.
The results - recently published, including also a group of high surgical risk patients – have proved excellent, both in the short and long term, with an average of 6 day post-op hospitalization!