Video assisted thoracoscopic surgery for closure of the persistently patent arterial duct is an effective answer to the modern effort of seeking repair of congenital cardiac malformations with minimally invasive techniques.
Between June, 1994, and December, 2002, 150 consecutive patients with an echocardiographic diagnosis of isolated patency of the arterial duct were referred to our Institution for video assisted thoracoscopic closure. The median age at the time of operation was 45 months, with a range from 3 to 161 months, and mean weight was 18 kg, with a range from 4.2 to 73 kg. Video assisted closure was possible in 139 patients (93%). The mean operative time was 37 min, with a range from 14 to 89 min. In the remaining 11 patients (7%), seen early in our experience, we converted to a mini-thoracotomy to achieve closure. In no instance did we encounter major haemorrhage requiring blood transfusion, and there were no hospital deaths. The mean period of stay in hospital was less than 24 h in 61 patients, less than 48 h in 88 patients seen earlier in our experience, and 21 days in 1 patient because of a persistent chylothorax. Other complications included palsy of the left recurrent laryngeal nerve in 1 patient, with partial regression at 6 months follow-up.
We conclude that closure of the arterial duct by video-assisted thoroscopy combines the advantages of safe and complete extraluminal occlusion with an excellent clinical and aesthetic result, minimal postoperative pain, and short stay in hospital at low cost.