Use of polytetrafluoroethylene surgical membrane as a pericardial substitute in the correction of congenital heart defects

M. Loebe, V. Alexi-Meskhishvili, Y. Weng, G. Hausdorf, R. Hetzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Patients who undergo repair of congenital heart defects have a high probability of eventually needing a repeat operation. In such cases, use of a pericardial substitute can preclude adhesion formation, thereby helping to avert the complications of a repeat sternotomy. This report describes our use of the GORE-TEX® polytetrafluoroethylene surgical membrane in 321 patients who underwent repair of congenital heart disease at our hospital between May of 1989 and December of 1992 (these cases account for 37.1% of all such repairs performed during this period). The patients' ages ranged from 2 days to 31 years (mean, 5.9 years). Eighty-eight patients (27.4%) had at least 1 previous median sternotomy, and 234 (73.0%) had a moderate to high probability of re-operation. Seventy-eight patients (24.3%) received a homograft, which was positioned extracardially in 63 cases. During a maximum follow-up period of 43 months (mean, 26 ± 5.6 months), 11 patients died, for an overall mortality of 3.4%. In no case was death attributable to membrane- related complications. Postoperative complications were encountered in 12 patients (3.7%), 10 of whom required an early repeat thoracotomy. One patient had mediastinitis, for an incidence of 0.3% (in contrast to 0.2% in 864 patients who underwent similar repair without the use of a surgical membrane). No complications were encountered in the 27 patients in whom the membrane was implanted during delayed sternal closure. Seventeen patients (5.5% of the survivors) underwent a repeat sternotomy, for further correction of congenital heart defects, a mean of 20 months after the original repair. At reoperation, no major complications were encountered. Although the number of reoperations was low, we conclude that use of the polytetrafluoroethylene surgical membrane for pericardial closure in children is a safe procedure that helps prevent complications at reoperation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
JournalTexas Heart Institute Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Heart defects, congenital/surgery
  • membranes, artificial
  • pericardium/adhesions
  • pericardium/surgery
  • polytetrafluoroethylene/ therapeutic use
  • reoperation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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