[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: To decrease the surgical trauma in heart procedures, minimally invasive (MI) techniques were alternatively introduced. OBJECTIVE: To compare MI surgical access with median sternotomy (MS) for the treatment of mitral valve (MV) disease and atrial septal defect (ASD). METHODS: Forty patients underwent surgery for correction of MV disease or ASD. Patients were divided into group A (GA) (n=20), access by right minithoracotomy and video-assistance; and group B (GB) (n=20), access by full MS. Aortic cross-clamp and cardiopulmonary bypass time, intensive care unit (ICU) time, hospital stay and morbidity were compared in this prospective study . RESULTS: Fifteen patients were submitted to MV procedures and five to ASD corrections in each group. There were 9 mitral replacements (7 bioprostetic and 2 mechanical) and 6 repairs in GA, and 10 (all bioprostetic) and five in GB. The mean aortic cross-clamp and cardiopulmonary bypass time, in minutes, were 65.1 ± 29.3 in GA and 50.2 ± 21.4 in GB (p=0.074); and 91.8±35 in GA and 63.7±27.3 in GB ( p=0.008). The mean ICU time, in hours, were 51.7 ± 16.3 in GA and 55.8±17.5 in GB (p=0.45). The in hospital stay, in days, were 5.2 ± 1 in GA and 6.4±1.5 in GB (p=0.009). CONCLUSION: MI access for correction of the MV disease and ASD implicated in a longer cardiopulmonary bypass time for finalization of the main procedure, nevertheless it didn´t affect patient's recuperation. MI treated patients were discharged earlier than sternotomy treated patients.