A comparison between minimized extracorporeal circuits and conventional extracorporeal circuits in patients undergoing aortic valve surgery: is ‘minimally invasive extracorporeal circulation’ just low prime or closed loop perfusion ?

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Even though results have been encouraging, an unequivocal conclusion on the beneficial effect of minimally invasive extracorporeal circulation (MiECC) in patients undergoing aortic valve surgery cannot be derived from previous publications. Long-term outcomes are rarely reported and a significant decrease in operative mortality has not been shown. Most studies have a limited number of patients and are underpowered. They merely report on short-term results of a heterogeneous intraoperative group using different types of ECC system in aortic valve surgery. The aim of the present study was to determine whether MiECC systems are more beneficial than conventional extracorporeal systems (CECC) with regard to mortality, hospital stay and inflammation and with only haemodilution and blood-air interface as differences.


We retrospectively analysed data regarding mortality, hospital stay and inflammation in patients undergoing isolated aortic valve surgery. Forty patients were divided into two groups based on the type of extracorporeal system used; conventional (n=20) or MiECC (n=20).


Perioperative blood product requirements were significantly lower in the MiECC group (MiECC: 0.2±0.5 units vs CECC: 0.9±1.2 units, p=0.004). No differences were seen postoperatively regarding mortality (5% vs 5%, p=0.99), total length of hospital stay (10.6±7.2 days (MiECC) vs 12.1±5.9 days (CECC), p=0.39) or inflammation markers (CRP: MiECC: 7.09±13.62 mg/L vs CECC: 3.4±3.2 mg/L, p=0.89).


MiECC provides circulatory support that is equally safe and feasible as conventional extracorporeal circuits. No differences in mortality, hospital stay or inflammation markers were observed.

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