Objective Small series of thoracotomy for mitral valve repair have demonstrated clinical benefit. This multi-institutional administrative database analysis compares outcomes of thoracotomy and sternotomy approaches for mitral repair. © 2014 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery Methods The Premier database was queried from 2007 to 2011 for mitral repair hospitalizations. Premier contains billing, cost, and coding data from more than 600 US hospitals, totaling 25 million discharges. Thoracotomy and sternotomy approaches were identified through expert rules; robotics were excluded. Propensity matching on baseline characteristics was performed. Regression analysis of surgical approach on outcomes and costs was modeled. Results Expert rule analysis positively identified thoracotomy in 847 and sternotomy in 566. Propensity matching created 2 groups of 367. Mortalities were similar (thoracotomy 1.1% vs sternotomy 1.9%). Sepsis and other infections were significantly lower with thoracotomy (1.1% vs 4.4%). After adjustment for hospital differences, thoracotomy carried a 17.2% lower hospitalization cost (-$8289) with a 2-day stay reduction. Readmission rates were significantly lower with thoracotomy (26.2% vs 35.7% at 30 days and 31.6% vs 44.1% at 90 days). Thoracotomy was more common in southern and northeastern hospitals (63% vs 37% and 64% vs 36%, respectively), teaching hospitals (64% vs 36%) and larger hospitals (>600 beds, 78% vs 22%). Conclusions Relative to sternotomy, thoracotomy for mitral repairs provides similar mortality, less morbidity, fewer infections, shorter stay, and significant cost savings during primary admission. The markedly lower readmission rates for thoracotomy will translate into additional institutional cost savings when a penalty on hospitals begins under the Affordable Care Act's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.
Grossi, E. A., Goldman, S., Wolfe, J. A., Mehall, J., Smith, J. M., Ailawadi, G., … Gunnarsson, C. (2014). Minithoracotomy for mitral valve repair improves inpatient and postdischarge economic savings. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 148(6), 2818-2822.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2014.08.029