The aim of this study was to determine the influence of lateral thoracotomy on the development of scoliosis in subjects undergoing repair of coarctation of the aorta (CoAo) and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).
A group of 133 patients with CoAo and PDA was evaluated. Forty-five patients with CoAo and 38 with PDA were operated on using lateral thoracotomy (operative group) while 12 patients with CoAo and 31 with PDA were treated using balloon dilatation and stent or coil implantation (non-operative group). Clinical examination and the evaluation of spinal roentgenograms were performed. Among the operated patients 46.6% of those with CoAo and 39.5% of those with PDA had clinical scoliosis. In the non-operated patients scoliosis was present in only 16.6% of those with CoAo and 12.9% of those with PDA. Scoliosis ranged between 10° and 42° and it was mild in the majority of cases. In 90.4% of the operated scoliotic patients with CoAo and 73.3% of those with PDA the curve was thoracic and in 47.6% of the CoAo group and 53,3% of the PDA group the curve was left sided. All curves were right sided in non-operated subjects. Scoliosis in the operated group was higher in males than in females (63.3% versus 60% in CoAo and 68.2% versus 37.5% in PDA). The prevalence of scoliosis after thoracotomy was significantly higher than after non-surgical methods of treatment of both CoAo and PDA as well as in the general population. The rate of single thoracic and the rate of left thoracic curves in patients after thoracotomy is higher than in patients treated non-surgically or in idiopathic scoliosis. The rate of scoliosis after thoracotomy is higher in males than females especially following thoracotomy for PDA.