Modular minimal invasive extracorporeal circuits: another step toward universal applicability?

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Safety concerns have been one of the main reasons opposing a wider acceptance of minimal invasive extracorporeal circuits (MiECC). Following an extensive experience and a multitude of modifications, we have set out to employ a modular MiECC as a universal extracorporeal circuit.


A total of 129 cardiac surgical procedures were performed by a single surgeon in 2013. Excluding procedures done under circulatory arrest or with the potential need of such, the MiECC was utilized in almost 90% of surgeries. Of sixty-two (simple procedures) patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aortic valve replacement (AVR) or CABG + AVR, 82% were non-elective, 10% had a left ventricular ejection fraction (EF) <30% and most had an impaired renal function. Thirty-eight patients had more complex surgeries (complex procedures), 37% of which were urgent, 15% had an EF <30% and the majority had renal dysfunction.


The 30-day mortality was 5% in simple procedures and 2.5% in complex procedures. The incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation was 13% and 16%, respectively. Optimum outcome was defined as a freedom from all complications and blood transfusions and was achieved in 52% and 42%, respectively.


This report shows that modular MiECC can be employed with a high safety margin in cardiac surgery. Furthermore, it emphasizes the impact that minimal invasive philosophy could have in improving patient care.

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