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Open Access Open Badges Case report

Aortic valve replacement via right anterolateral thoracotomy in the case of a patient with extreme mediastinal right-shift following pneumonectomy

Mathias Wilhelmi1*, Thomas Rodt2, Issam Ismail1 and Axel Haverich1

Author Affiliations

1 Division for Cardiac, Thoracic, Transplantation, and Vascular Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, Hannover, 30625, Germany

2 Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, Hannover, 30625, Germany

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Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 2013, 8:20  doi:10.1186/1749-8090-8-20

Published: 25 January 2013


We report on the case of a 68-year-old male patient with the history of right pneumonectomy due to bronchial carcinoma, who was referred for aortic valve replacement due to severe calcified aortic stenosis. Pre-operative chest X-ray and computed tomography (CT) revealed an unusually pronounced mediastinal shift to the right. Despite this unusual anatomy, we decided to perform surgery using the right anterolateral thoracotomy following thorough pre-operative planning using 3D-volume rendering of the CT data-set. This approach yielded excellent exposure of the aortic root and the ascending aorta, respectively. Following an uneventful operative and post-operative course the patient could be discharged on post-OP day 6.

Although only occasionally described for aortic valve replacement a right anterolateral thoracotomy may represent a valuable surgical approach, particular in patients with unusual anatomy, e.g. a mediastinal right-shift. However, thorough pre-operative planning, i.e. using visualization and planning techniques such as 3D-volume rendering should be mandatory as it provides information crucial to facilitate surgical steps and thus, may help avoid severe surgical complications.

Pneumonectomy; Aortic valve; Thoracotomy; Minimally invasive surgical procedures