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Abstract Lung biopsies were taken at surgery from five patients (age 2–13, average 7.6 years) with tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia with major aortopulmonary collateral arteries. The biopsies were then processed for ultrastructural study, comparing paired samples taken, on the one hand, from a segment connected to central pulmonary arteries and, on the other hand, from a segment supplied directly by collateral arteries. Specimens from patients with isolated ventricular septal defect, and from those without cardiac disease, were used as controls. In the patients with tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia, all biopsies taken from segments supplied by the major collateral arteries showed marked deposition of collagen in the alveolar wall, with an increase in the thickness of the basement membrane (3.6±1.2 µm, mean±SD) greater than seen in those taken from segments connected to central pulmonary arteries (0.9±0.6, p<0.05). The proportional fibrosis of the alveolar interstitial space was also significantly greater in the biopsies from the segments supplied by collateral arteries (30±9%) compared to those from segments fed by central pulmonary arteries (15±8%, p<0.05). No significant differences were found in these indices between the biopsies from segments connected to the central pulmonary arteries in patients with tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia and those from patients with isolated ventricular septal defect or normal controls. There was no apparent relation to the pulmonary arterial pressure in these findings. The results suggest that the pulmonary segments fed directly by major aortopulmonary collateral arteries in patients with tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia seem likely to be afflicted by alveolar wall fibrosis, although the etiology and clinical implications of this finding remain unclear.
Background: Minimally invasive cardiac surgery is now becoming standard in the correction of simple congenital cardiac malformations. We introduced a clinical pathway for fast track recovery of school activities in children after minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and assessed the function of the pathway in children with atrial or ventricular septal defects, comparing minimally invasive surgery to repair through a conventional full sternotomy. Methods: We studied 15 children of school age who underwent repair of an atrial or ventricular septal defect through a lower midline sternotomy, and 10 children undergoing repair through a full sternotomy. The clinical pathway was for extubation to take place in the operating room, echocardiographic evaluation on the 5th postoperative day, and discharge home on the 7th postoperative day, with return to school within 2 weeks, and resumption of all gymnastic activity within 6 weeks of the minimally invasive surgery. Results: In those having a lower midline sternotomy, postoperative hospital stay was 7.4 ± 0.8 days, with return to school 8.0 ± 2.4 days after discharge. They resumed gymnastics 41 ± 11 days after the minimally invasive surgery. In those having a full sternotomy, in contrast, these parameters were 13.5 ± 2.7, 23.1 ± 8.4, and 95 ± 43 days, respectively. Of the 15 children undergoing a minimally invasive approach, 12 (80%) fulfilled the criterions of our clinical pathway. Conclusions: We conclude that minimally invasive cardiac surgery can safely be performed in children. In addition to its cosmetic role, the technique has added value in promoting early return to normal school life, including gymnastics.
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