Redo aortic valve surgery (AVS) in patients with patent pedicled internal thoracic artery (ITA) grafts remains a challenging procedure because of the possibility of injury to the grafts and difficulties in optimal myocardial protection. This procedure is associated with a significant mortality and morbidity. Different approaches to myocardial protection and ITA graft dissection and control have been described. An intraoperative technique is proposed that provides endovascular control of the ITA graft, using an angioplasty balloon positioned during cross-clamping.
Ten consecutive patients with previous coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and a patent pedicled ITA who underwent AVS were studied. The ITA grafts were occluded by using an angioplasty balloon during cross-clamping, but were not dissected and controlled.
Endovascular control of the ITA graft was feasible in all cases, without complication. Two intraoperative complications (both graft injuries) were observed; one injury of an ITA graft, and one injury of a radial artery graft. There was no postoperative mortality. One myocardial infarct was related to the injury of a radial graft. The clamped ITA grafts were studied at two months after the procedure in five patients, and showed all grafts to be patent. At a mean follow up of 13 months, all patients were alive without any coronary events.
The endovascular control of a patent ITA graft during redo AVS is a safe and simple technique that reduces the risk of ITA graft injury and also improves myocardial protection.