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Ann Thorac Surg. 1997 Sep;64(3):702-5.

Axilloaxillary cardiopulmonary bypass: a practical alternative to femorofemoral bypass.

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Division of Cardiac Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Peripheral arterial and venous cannulation for cardiopulmonary bypass is used increasingly for patients undergoing minimally invasive cardiac operations, complex reoperations, or repair of aortic dissection or aneurysm, and for patients with extensive arteriosclerotic aortic disease in whom aortic cannulation is a prohibitive embolic risk. The common femoral artery and vein are most commonly used for peripheral cannulation, but these sites may be predisposed to complications, primarily because the femoral vessels are commonly involved with arteriosclerotic disease. We have recently begun to use the axillary artery and axillary vein as alternative cannulation sites, achieving full cardiopulmonary bypass, providing antegrade aortic flow, and avoiding many of the complications associated with other sites.


Seven patients with peripheral vascular or aortic disease, or both, prohibiting safe aortic or femoral cannulation underwent cardiopulmonary bypass through axillary artery and axillary vein cannulation, approached through a small single subclavicular incision.


All patients were successfully cannulated and axilloaxillary cardiopulmonary bypass was possible without the need for additional cannulas. All axillary vessels were closed primarily without complication.


For an expanding population of patients with peripheral vascular and aortic disease, axilloaxillary bypass is a safe and practical alternative to aortic or femoral cannulation.

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