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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Two approaches for repeat cardiac surgery

Jin Woo Chung, Hyun Keun Chee* and Jun Seok Kim

Author Affiliations

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Konkuk University Medical Center, Konkuk University School of Medicine, 4-12, Hwayang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, 143-701, South Korea

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Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 2012, 7:114  doi:10.1186/1749-8090-7-114

Published: 22 October 2012



With recent advances in post-operative care and surgical methods, the number of cardiovascular re-operations is increasing. We analyzed our institutional experience to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the approach methods for cardiac re-operations.


Between September 2007 and December 2010, we performed 208 cardiac re-operations, defined as surgery which was not performed within a month from the previous operation or during the same hospitalization for the same disease and reviewed retrospectively. According to the surgical approach, we divided patients into two groups: median sternotomy group (S-group, n = 146), and thoracotomy group (T-group, n = 62).


There were no differences in sex or mean interval from the first surgery to re-operation between the two groups. Mean cardiopulmonary bypass, adhesion dissection time, bleeding control time, and operation time were significantly shorter in the T-group. The need for transfusion (p = 0.001) during adhesion dissection and the chest tube drainage (p < 0.001) were significantly lower in the T-group. There were 10 operative deaths in the S-group (6.8%) and 5 in the T-group (8.1%) (p = 0.757). Pneumonia was the most common cause of death in both groups. Post-operative bleeding did not result in death and there were no cases of wound infection in the T-group.


Two approaches for repeated cardiac surgery were safe and effective in terms of mortality, wound infection, bleeding, operation time, adhesion dissecting time, and bleeding control time. We were able to obtain a good visual field and perform safe surgery by applying the thoracotomy method in selective patients for cardiovascular re-operation.

Reoperation; Sternotomy; Thoracotomy