Transfer of a minimally invasive mitral valve repair program from a high-volume center to a very low volume center: how many cases are necessary to maintain acceptable results?


Department of Cardiac Surgery, Asahikawa Medical University, Midorigaoka Higashi 2-1-1-1, Asahikawa, 078-8510, Japan. [Email]


OBJECTIVE : To investigate whether minimally invasive mitral valve repair (MIMVR) can be transferred from a high-volume center into a very small volume center and to clarify how many cases are necessary for maintenance of this program, early outcomes of MIMVR in Asahikawa Medical University were compared with those results in patients operated by a single surgeon in Duesseldorf University Hospital.
METHODS : Sixty-five patients who underwent MIMVR in Asahikawa Medical University (group A) between May 2014 and July 2018 and 134 patients who underwent MIMVR in Duesseldorf University Hospital (group D) between September 2009 and January 2014 by a surgeon who started MIMVS later in Asahikawa were retrospectively analyzed.
RESULTS : In group D, there were more patients with ischemic mitral valve regurgitation and with annular calcification than in group A. Survival rate at 6 months and 1 year was 98.5% and 98.5% in group A and 92.9% and 91.3% in group D, respectively. EuroSCORE II was significantly higher in patients dead within 30 days and within the first year.
CONCLUSIONS : The present study demonstrated that MIMVR programs can be transferred with acceptable early results into very low volume centers, if the team is developed by surgeons who are well trained and experienced in MIMVR. Moreover, the present study suggested that case number for maintenance of acceptable results may be obviously less than the previous recognition that this kind of specialized surgery could be maintained with at least 50 cases annually. However, meticulous preparations for surgery are essential for satisfactory surgical outcomes.


Low-volume center,Minimally invasive cardiac surgery,Mitral valve repair,