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J Endourol. 2003 Jun;17(5):275-82.

Laparoscopic inferior vena cava and right atrial thrombectomy utilizing deep hypothermic circulatory arrest.

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The Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, Section of Laparoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



Surgery for renal cancer associated with a level III or IV tumor thrombus often involves cardiopulmonary bypass, deep hypothermia, and exploration of the right atrium and inferior vena cava (IVC). This major open operation necessitates a large median sternotomy incision and a midline abdominal or chevron incision. Herein, we investigate the feasibility of purely laparoscopic IVC and right atrial thrombectomy utilizing deep hypothermic circulatory arrest.


In six male calves weighing 70 to 80 kg, the right common carotid artery and right internal jugular vein were cannulated for subsequent cardiopulmonary bypass. One laparoscopic team performed right radical nephrectomy and complete mobilization of the intra-abdominal IVC by a four-port approach. Simultaneously, a second laparoscopic team obtained three-port thoracoscopic access to incise the pericardium and expose the right atrium. In sequence, cardiopulmonary bypass, complete exsanguination, cardiac arrest, and core hypothermia of 18 degrees C were achieved. A coagulum thrombus was created by needle injection into the IVC. Combined laparoscopic and thoracoscopic incision, exploration, and thrombectomy of the IVC and the right atrium were then performed in a bloodless field. An angioscope was inserted inside the heart and the IVC to confirm complete thrombus clearance visually. The IVC and right atrium were then laparoscopically suture repaired, cardiopulmonary bypass was reestablished, and the animal was gradually rewarmed. Once sinus rhythm was reestablished at normal body temperature, the animal was weaned off the pump.


The mean total operative time was 494.5 minutes (range 355-705 minutes). The mean time needed to lower the core temperature was 63.5 minutes (range 50-120 minutes), and the mean time required to rewarm the animal was 101.8 minutes (range 70-130 minutes). The mean blood volume drained into the pump was 2633.3 mL (range 1400-3200 mL), and the mean estimated blood loss was 350 mL (range 200-750 mL). Reestablishment of sinus cardiac rhythm and weaning off the pump was successful in all animals prior to acute euthanasia.


Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy with thrombectomy for level III or IV tumor thrombi utilizing deep hypothermic circulatory arrest is feasible in the calf model using minimally invasive techniques exclusively. The procedure is technically complex and requires the combined efforts of expert urologic and cardiac operative teams. Survival studies are planned.

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