International Perfusion Association


Vacuum Assisted and Gravitational Venous Drainage in Aortic Valve Surgery: A Propensity-Match Study

Introduction: Vacuum assisted venous drainage (VAVD) is widely adopted in minimally invasive cardiac surgery. VAVD enables the advantage of using smaller cannulae in a reduced surgical field while allowing satisfactory drainage and pump flow. The production of gaseous micro-emboli is a recognized risk associated with VAVD, however no difference in clinical endpoints have been reported between patients operated on with gravity venous drainage (GVD) or with VAVD. Due to the paucity of data on selected surgical populations, we sought to evaluate the early outcomes of patients undergoing isolated aortic valve replacement using VAVD or GVD.

Methods: Data on 521 patients between 09/2016 and 09/2022 were retrieved from our internal database. Patients were divided into two groups according to use VAVD or GVD. A propensity match analysis was performed to account for difference between the two groups.

Results: The propensity match provided two well balanced cohorts with 129 patients each. A minimally invasive access was used in 97% of the cases in VAVD group vs 98% in GVD group (p = .68). Mean cardiopulmonary by-pass (CPB) time was 71 vs 73 min (p = .74), respectively. There was no difference in lactates peak (p = .19) and urine output during CPB (p = .74). We registered two in-hospital deaths in VAVD cohort (1.6%) vs. no mortality in GVD group (p = .5). Postoperative cerebral stroke occurred in 1 patient in GVD cohort vs. 0 in VAVD (p = 1). Severe postoperative acute kidney injury complicated the course in 16 patients in GVD group and in 5 patients who had VAVD (p = .012). VAVD was associated with a higher number of patients with elevated postoperative AST (p = .07) and Troponin I (p = .01) values.

Conclusions: The use of VAVD during isolated aortic valve replacement was not associated with increased risks of postoperative complications and in-hospital mortality with results that were at least similar to those registered in a matched cohort of patients operated on with GVD.

Keywords: cardiac surgery; cardiopulmonary by-pass; gravity venous drainage; minimally invasive aortic valve replacement; vacuum assisted venous drainage.

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