In this paper, we present an endoscopic expandable sizer conceived to allow thoracoscopic aortic valve replacement with a sutureless prosthesis using a dynamic sizing of the aortic annulus.Methods
Ten aortic torsos were prepared using a five-trocar thoracoscopic setting. Once the aortotomy was performed and the aortic valve leaflets removed, the technical feasibility of the endoscopic sizing (introduction into the trocar, expansion into the aortic annulus, determination of the valve size, and retraction) with the device was assessed. In case of successful thoracoscopic sizing, endoscopic implantation of a sutureless valve (five LivaNova Perceval prosthesis and five Medtronic 3f Enable bioprosthesis) was performed. Before ascending aorta closure, we assessed the appropriate sealing of the bioprosthesis in the native annulus with camera visualization and a nerve hook inspection.Results
All the 10 endoscopic sizings were technically feasible. The scheduled aortic sutureless valve implantations were successfully performed. In all cases, fitting and placement of the sutureless bioprosthesis in the flaccid heart was satisfactory, with no paraprosthetic leakage detectable by the nerve hook.Conclusions
The use of the endoscopic expandable sizer is technically possible. In this early-stage test in the flaccid heart, selection of the valve size was satisfactory during thoracoscopic sutureless aortic bioprosthesis implantation. Further laboratory evaluation with fluid dynamics (aortic root pressurization) will be performed before a clinical study is started.