Mini-Stern Trial: A randomised trial comparing mini-sternotomy to full median sternotomy for aortic valve replacement

Sukumaran K. Nair, Catherine D. Sudarshan, Benjamin S. Thorpe, Jeshika Singh, Thasee Pillay, Pedro Catarino, Kamen Valchanov, Massimiliano Codispoti, John Dunning, Yasir Abu-Omar, Narain Moorjani, Claire Matthews, Carol J. Freeman, Julia A. Fox-Rushby, Linda D. Sharples

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Aortic valve replacement (AVR) can be performed either through full median sternotomy (FS) or upper mini-sternotomy (MS). The Mini-Stern trial aimed to establish whether MS leads to quicker postoperative recovery and shorter hospital stay after first-time isolated AVR.


This pragmatic, open-label, parallel RCT compared MS with FS for first-time isolated AVR in two UK NHS hospitals. Primary endpoints were duration of postoperative hospital stay and the time to fitness for discharge from hospital after AVR, analysed in the intent-to-treat population.


In this RCT, 222 patients were recruited and randomised (118 MS, 104 FS). Compared to FS patients, MS patients had longer hospital stay (mean 9.5 vs. 8.6 days) and took longer to achieve fitness for discharge home (mean 8.5 vs. 7.5 days). Adjusting for valve type, sex and surgeon, hazard ratios (HR) from Cox models did not show a statistically significant effect of MS (relative to FS) on either hospital stay (HR 0.874, 95% CI 0.668-1.143, p-value 0.3246) or time to fitness for discharge (HR 0.907, 95% CI 0.688-1.197, p-value 0.4914). During mean follow up of 760 days (MS:745 and FS:777 days), 12 (10%) MS and 7 (7%) FS patients died (HR 1.871, 95% CI 0.723-4.844, p-value 0.1966). Average extra cost for MS was £1,714, during the first 12 months after AVR. Conclusions Compared to FS for AVR, MS did not result in shorter hospital stay, faster recovery or improved survival and was not cost-effective. MS approach is not superior to FS for performing AVR.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Early online date4 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jun 2018


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