Null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) and p-values are widespread in the cardiac surgical literature but are frequently misunderstood and misused. The purpose of the review is to discuss major disadvantages of p-values and suggest alternatives. We describe diagnostic tests, the prosecutor’s fallacy in the courtroom, and NHST, which involve inter-related conditional probabilities, to help clarify the meaning of p-values, and discuss the enormous sampling variability, or unreliability, of p-values. Finally, we use a cardiac surgical database and simulations to explore further issues involving p-values. In clinical studies, p-values provide a poor summary of the observed treatment effect, whereas the three- number summary provided by effect estimates and confidence intervals is more informative and minimises over-interpretation of a “significant” result. P-values are an unreliable measure of strength of evidence; if used at all they give only, at best, a very rough guide to decision making. Researchers should adopt Open Science practices to improve the trustworthiness of research and, where possible, use estimation (three-number summaries) or other better techniques.
The heart transplantation (HT) is undoubtedly the best treatment for end-stage heart failure patients (2). However, the organ shortage remains a major challenge in cardiac surgery. Facing this problem, the medical community starts to extend the donor criteria to select more suitable organs for HT. The use of ECDs is still controversial, since it is associated with a high incidence of primary graft failure (3), and although it guarantees longer survival than without transplantation, there is still some hesitation in accepting this practice.
Paravalvular leak (PVL) is uncommon but can lead to severe complications after surgical or transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Clinical complications such as heart failure, haemolysis and infective endocarditis can be catastrophic results if not treated in promptly. It is, therefore, vital that PVLs are diagnosed early using various imaging modalities. Different approaches have been studies in managing PVL’s; of late, there is an increased interest in the use of minimally invasive procedures such as the transcatheter aortic valve closure procedure due to the decreased occurrence of further operations. This review discusses the classification of PVLs, diagnostic approaches and the available management options.
Background: Although concomitant pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is used more frequently than the Cox-maze procedure, which is currently the gold standard treatment for AF, data on the comparative effectiveness of the two procedures after concomitant mitral valve (MV) surgery are still limited. Objective: We conducted a systematic review to identify randomized controlled trials (RCT) and observational studies comparing the mid-term mortality and recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) after concomitant Cox-Maze and PVI in patients with AF undergoing MV surgery based on 12-month follow-up. Methods: Medline, EMBASE databases, and the Cochrane Library were searched from 1987 up to March 2022 for studies comparing concomitant Cox-Maze and PVI. A meta-analysis of RCTs was performed to compare the mid-term clinical outcomes between these two surgical ablation techniques. Results: Three RCTs and 3 observational studies meeting the inclusion criteria were included in this systematic review with 790 patients in total (532 concomitant Cox-Maze and 258 PVI during MV surgery). Most studies reported that concomitant Cox-Maze procedure was associated with a higher freedom from AF at 12-month follow-up than PVI. Regarding AF recurrence, estimate pooled across the 3 RCTs indicated large heterogeneity and high uncertainty. In the largest and highest quality RCT, 12-month AF recurrence was higher in the PVI arm (RR=1.58, 95%CI 0.91-2.73). In 2 out of 3 higher quality observational studies, 12-month AF recurrence was higher in PVI than in Cox-Maze arm (estimated adjusted probabilities 11% vs. 8% and 35% vs. 17%, respectively). RCTs demonstrated comparable 12-month mortality between concomitant Cox-Maze and PVI, while observational studies demonstrated survival benefit of Cox-Maze. Conclusions: Concomitant Cox-Maze in AF patients undergoing MV surgery is associated with better mid-term freedom from AF when compared to PVI with comparable mid-term survival. Large observational studies suggest that there might be a mid-term survival benefit among patients after concomitant Cox-Maze. Further large RCTs with longer standardized follow-up are required in order to clarify benefits of concomitant Cox-Maze in AF patients during MV surgery.
Background and Aim: We assessed the anatomical variations in coronary arterial patterns relative to the techniques of reimplantation in the setting of the arterial switch operation, relating the variations to influences on outcomes. Methods: We reviewed pertinent published investigations, assessing events reported following varied surgical techniques for reimplantation of the coronary arteries in the setting of the arterial switch procedure. Results: The prevalence of reported adverse events, subsequent to reimplantation, varied from 2% to 11%, with a bimodal presentation of high early and low late incidence. The intramural pattern continues to contribute to mortality, with some reports of 28% fatality. The presence of abnormal course relative to the arterial pedicles in the setting of single sinus origin was associated with a three-fold increase in mortality. Abnormal looping with bisinusal origin of arteries was not associated with increased risk. Conclusion: The techniques of transfer of the coronary arteries can be individually adapted to cater for the anatomical variations. Cardiac surgeons, therefore, need to be familiar with the myriad creative options available to achieve successful repair when there is challenging anatomy. Long-term follow-up will be required to affirm the superiority of any specific individual technique. Detailed multiplanar computed-tomographic scanning can now reveal all the variants, and elucidate the mechanisms of late complications. Coronary angioplasty or surgical revascularization may be considered in selected cases subsequent to the switch procedure.
Background: The introduction of the frozen elephant trunk (FET) technique for total arch replacement (TAR) has revolutionized the field of aortovascular surgery. However, although FET yields excellent results, the risk of certain complications requiring secondary intervention remains present, negating its one-step hybrid advantage over conventional techniques. This systematic review and meta-analysis sought to evaluate controversies regarding the incidence of FET-related complications, with a focus on aortic remodeling, distal stent-graft induced new entry (dSINE) and endoleak, in patients with type A aortic dissection (TAAD) and/or thoracic aortic aneurysm. Materials and methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted using multiple electronic databases including EMBASE, Scopus, and PubMed/MEDLINE to identify evidence on TAR with FET in patients with TAAD and/or aneurysm. Studies published up until January 2022 were included, and after applying exclusion criteria, a total of 43 studies were extracted. Results: A total of 5068 patients who underwent FET procedure were included. The pooled estimates of dSINE and endoleak were 2% (95% CI 0.01-0.06, I 2 = 78%) and 3% (95% CI 0.01-0.11, I 2 = 89%), respectively. The pooled rate of secondary thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) post-FET was 7% (95% CI 0.05-0.12, I 2 = 89%) whilst the pooled rate of false lumen thrombosis at the level of stent-graft was 91% (95% CI 0.75-0.97, I 2 = 92%). After subgroup analysis, heterogeneity for dSINE and endoleak resolved among European patients, where Thoraflex Hybrid and E-Vita stent-grafts were used (both I 2 = 0%). In addition, heterogeneity for secondary TEVAR after FET resolved among Asians receiving Cronus (I 2 = 15.1%) and Frozenix stent -grafts (I 2 = 1%). Conclusion: Our results showed that the FET procedure in patients with TAAD and/or aneurysm is associated with excellent results, with a particularly low incidence of dSINE and endoleak as well as highly favorable aortic remodeling. However the type of stent-graft and the study location were sources of heterogeneity, emphasizing the need for multicenter studies directly comparing FET grafts. Finally, Thoraflex Hybrid can be considered the primary FET device choice due to its superior results.
Some would argue that kids aren’t just little adults, but what about their sternums? We are reviewing a manuscript by Horriat, McCandless, and colleagues in the Journal of Cardiac Surgery1 describing their experience with managing sternal wound infections (SWI) after congenital heart surgery. They report encouraging results in 14 patients who required plastic surgery consultation to manage their sternal wounds. The nature of congenital cardiac abnormalities and the necessary steps to repair them leads to physiologic derangements predisposing patients to SWI. Rates of SWI vary and have been reported at 1.53% in this population. There is little guidance on how the management of the congenital cardiac surgery patient should differ from the adult patient.2
Background: Heart transplant from controlled donation after circulatory death (cDCD) is an emerging strategy that is rapidly expanding and may help increase the heart donor pool. Materials and Methods: The use of thoracoabdominal normothermic regional perfusion (TANRP) with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation device has allowed to perform cardiac transplantation after cDCD. Several experiences have been carried out in recent years, however the maximum cold ischemia time is still unknown. We present a successful case of heart transplantation using a graft from cDCD from another hospital with 201 minutes of cold ischemia time, the longest published in Europe. Discussion and conclusion: Heart transplant from cDCD could be a good alternative to brain dead donation. This experience suggests than nonlocal cardiac donation in controlled asystole could tolerate long periods of cold ischemia time and break the main barriers in cardiac donation after circulatory death.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a remarkably challenging health issue that provoked all the health-care providers to contemplate some measures about the situation. All the health-care workers frontline (esp. emergency service, pulmonologists, infection disease specialist and anesthesiologist) have produced recommendations on prevention and taking care of COVID-19 patient (1,2). Whereas, at the second line another important issue is the ongoing healthcare for the continual disease situations.There are two main critical issues on cardiovascular surgery in this pandemic. Firstly, to delay the elective surgeries is essential to sustain the health-care service. Elective case triage is trickier for cardiovascular procedures which are relatively progressive conditions. Definitive decision to defer a procedure should be made regarding firstly to the capacity of health-care system, and then availability of surgical/anesthesia staff, intensive care unit beds, need for isolation beds, ventilators, cardiopulmonary bypass machine, extracorporeal membrane oxygenator, supplies such as sutures, grafts, valves and blood and blood product availability. The patient status should be taken into account to defer or to perform the procedure, as well. Therefore, we developed “Level of Priority” (LoP) statement for cardiovascular procedures (3). Elective cases are defined as LoP I that may be postponed as much as possible. LoP II to IV cases should be reconsidered by individual basis by “Heart Team”. The situations that can be managed by percutaneous coronary intervention, endovascular procedures and etc. may be handled by non-operative manners.The second one is the personal protection equipment and infection measures while dealing with a suspected / confirmed COVID-19 patient. It is obvious that a suspected / confirmed COVID-19 patient ought to be assessed with specific measures for any medical or surgical intervention. Personal protection equipment (PPE) is the most crucial measure during the pandemic. It is recognized that many centers are facing PPE shortages and there are recommendations to re-sterile the masks to be effective for reuse.(4) More measures should be taken into consideration for sterile environment such as surgical procedures. Some added measures such as face shield may be recommended for surgical procedures. The surgical team who scrubbed in, must wear extra equipment such as surgical coat and double gloves. It may be recommended to fix the long-sleeve gloves to the surgical coat by adhesive drapes (3). It is obvious that this kind of working environment with all this equipment is challenging, sometimes irritating and disquieting. One other big problem is the fraught feeling of health-care providers to be diseased or to be contagious for their family. Therefore, health-care providers may need enormous support for burnouts during the pandemic.The other measures such as preparation of the operating room (OR), anesthesiologic management, transportation of patients and disinfection of OR were discussed in the referring article (3).In conclusion, it is important to assess the “Level of Priority” for surgical procedures to support the service of health-care facility. More than that, whole surgical team should be protected by adequate PPE and should take the time to get full protected.
Background: Cardiac surgeries use 10%–15% of red blood cells transfused in the United States, despite benefits of limiting transfusions. We sought to evaluate the the feasibility and impact of a restrictive transfusion protocol on blood use and clinical outcomes in patients undergoing isolated primary coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Methods: Blood conservation measures, instituted in 2012, include preoperative optimization, intraoperative anesthesia and pump fluid restriction with retrograde autologous priming and vacuum-assisted drainage, use of aminocaproic acid and cell saver, intra- and postoperative permissive anemia, and administration of iron and lowdose vasopressors if needed. Medical records of patients who underwent isolated primary CABG from 2009–2012 (group A; n=375) and 2013–2016 (group B; n=322) were compared. Results: CABG with grafting to 3 or 4 coronary arteries was performed in 262 (70%) and 222 (69%) patients and bilateral internal thoracic artery grafting in 202 (54%) and 196 (61%) patients in groups A and B, respectively. Mean preoperative and intraoperative hematocrit was 40.3% and 40.7%, 28.9% and 29.4% in groups A and B, respectively. Total blood transfusion was 24% and 6.5%, intraoperative transfusion 10% and 1.2%, postoperative transfusion 19% and 5.3% (p<0.0001 for all) in groups A and B, respectively. Median postoperative length of stay was 5.0 days in group A and 4.5 days in group B (p =.02), with no significant differences between groups in mortality or morbidity. Conclusions: A restrictive transfusion protocol reduced blood transfusions and postoperative length of stay without adversely affecting outcomes following isolated primary CABG.
While there is significant awareness regarding droplet and contact transmission, aerosols are generally underestimated as a potential mode of transmission of SARS-Cov-2 infection. With the gradual resumption of cardiac surgical activities, the cardiac surgical operating room will become an important potential source of infection to the cardiac surgeon and other healthcare workers participating in the operation. There is also diminished awareness about the different aerosol generating procedures (AGP) in the cardiac surgical operating room. In this mini-review we intend to highlight the various aerosol generating procedures that are common in cardiac surgery. This will help increase the awareness among surgeons to AGP. A practical approach to taking preventive measures have also been discussed.
The authors of “Outcomes of truncus arteriosus repair and predictors of mortality” carried out a retrospective analysis of more than 3000 infants with truncus arteriosus using the National Inpatient Sample dataset of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project database. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with in-hospital mortality. The authors also identified a seemingly protective effect of 22q11.2 deletion. But do these findings offer a complete understanding of surgical risk factors for patients with truncus arteriosus?
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is associated with severe pulmonary and cardiovascular complications. This report describes a young patient with COVID-19 without any comorbidity presenting with severe cardiovascular complications, manifesting with pulmonary embolism, embolic stroke, and right heart failure. Management with short-term mechanical circulatory support, including different cannulation strategies, resulted in a successful outcome despite his critical cardiovascular status.
Importance: Cardiac tamponade requiring emergent intervention is a possible complication of COVID-19 infection. Favorable clinical outcomes are possible if timely management and drainage are performed, unless ventricular failure develops. Observations: Cardiac tamponade in COVID-19, based on the limited reported cases, seems to be more common among middle-aged men. Prognosis is worse amongst patients with concomitant ventricular failure. Design and methods: This is a case series of three COVID-19 patients complicated by cardiac tamponade, requiring surgical intervention at a single institution in New York. Interventions: Pericardial window, Pericardiocentesis Outcomes: One patient had recurrence of cardiac tamponade with hemorrhagic component but fully recovered and was discharged home. Two patients developed cardiac tamponade with concomitant biventricular failure, resulting in death. Conclusions and Relevance: Cardiac Tamponade with possible concomitant biventricular failure can develop in COVID-19 patients; incidence seems to be highest at the point of marked inflammatory response. Concomitant ventricular failure seems to be a predictor of poor prognosis.
In recent years, the use of bioprosthetic valve (BPV) has increased significantly with both surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) and transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) due to reasons such as the advantage of not using anticoagulants. Nevertheless major disadvantage of all BPV is the risk of early structural valve deterioration, leading to valve dysfunction, and requires reoperation, which significantly increases the risk of mortality or major morbidity especially after SAVR. There are a limited number of TAV-in-TAV case reports due to TAVI BPV degeneration. In our knowledge this is the second report of TAV-in-TAV implantation wherein a previously implanted transfemoral 25-mm nonmetallic Direct Flow SVD valve treated with ViV TAVI via Edwards Sapien XT.
Background and Aim: Clinical education has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We present a standardized remote alternative online cardiothoracic surgery primer to accommodate a shortened clinical calendar. Methods: A week-long cardiothoracic surgery course consisting of virtual case-based lectures and small groups as well as surgical operation walkthroughs was conducted iteratively through April and May 2020 at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA for new clinical third-year medical students. Results: Remote learning platforms helped maintain medical student clinical education. Cardiothoracic procedure video walkthroughs were highly demanded for remote learning. Virtual small group discussions were felt to be invaluable in facilitating active problem solving and clinical decision making of cardiothoracic surgery. Conclusion: Our online cardiothoracic surgery curriculum can be a framework for alternative medical student clinical education. Student feedback is necessary as we adapt to teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic and future global disruptions.
Fulminant myocarditis is a rapidly progressive myocardial inflammation that commonly requires advanced therapies circulatory support. We report our management for a case of fulminant myocarditis and cardiogenic shock. The patient is a 36 year old gentleman who was admitted after a one week history of malaise. Upon admission he was lethargic with jugular venous distension to 10 cm. He was taken immediately for a heart catheterization and intra-aortic balloon pump placement. There was no obstructive coronary disease, and hemodynamics were consistent with biventricular failure. After multidisciplinary evaluation, we elected to proceed with emergent extracorporeal membranous oxygenation (ECMO). We utilize a Protek Duo Rapid Deployment (LivaNova, Mirandola, Italy) which is inserted via modified Seldinger technique through the left ventricular apex, terminating in the ascending aorta. Percutaneous right IJ bicaval via a y-ed Avalon Elite (Getinge, Goteborg, Sweden) approach is employed for venous drainage (Figure 1). We believe that with this alternative ECMO cannulation platform, we address the multitude of drawbacks that plague peripherally cannulated extracorporeal circulatory support, minimizing patient deconditioning and upper/lower extremity over/under perfusion complications, while providing sternal sparring antegrade arterial flow with ventricular unloading/venting. For two weeks the patient was ambulatory, but because we were unable to obtain an adequate offer during this interval, we transitioned to a bridge to bridge therapy. This case highlights an alternate strategy for central walking VA ECMO in the rare presentation of one patient’s progression from IABP to VA ECMO to durable BiVAD to heart transplantation during a single admission.