Surgical management of adrenal tumours extending into the right atrium

Renata Greco, Irene Tsappa, Radu Mihai, Mario Petrou


This paper discusses the surgical approach for the treatment of adrenal tumours extending into the right atrium (RA), using a cardio-pulmonary bypass (CPB) associated with deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA). Pre-operative planning and surgical steps are described in details. The association of CPB with hypothermic circulatory arrest (HCA) provides a bloodless operating field, direct intra-vascular vision, reduces the risk of embolization and allows extensive inferior vena cava (IVC) or RA repair in cases of infiltration of the vascular wall. Establishing a dedicated multidisciplinary team with experience in managing these challenging cases is fundamental to offer treatment to patients with advanced disease, who would otherwise risk being turned down for surgery. A close collaboration between general and cardiac surgeons and a deep understanding of the surgical procedure steps are fundamental to safely performing these procedures. We advocate centralising adrenal surgery in a small number of units with adequate multidisciplinary support.