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1.  Innominate truncal and arch blowout with left hemiparesis and right hemothorax followed by delayed cheese-wire perforation of innominate graft 
We present the case of a 68 year old Caucasian woman, in extremis, with left hemiparesis and right hemothorax, in hypovolemic shock, secondary to a blow-out of a large penetrating ulcer at the junction of innominate trunk and aortic arch. She underwent interposition graft replacement of innominate trunk and repair of aortic arch, on cardiopulmonary bypass, employing total circulatory arrest and selective antegrade cerebral perfusion and had total resolution of hemiparesis. She, however, represented, 6 months later, with threatened exsanguination after a sternal wire cheese-wired through the sternum and perforated the anteriorly lying innominate graft. Following successful repair, she was found to have an old intramural hematoma of distal arch and descending thoracic aorta and changes suggestive of chronic dissection of the whole of abdominal aorta. This was managed conservatively.
We believe this patient’s presentation initially with a spontaneous innominate blow-out, cardiogenic shock, hemothorax and hemiparesis, and later with cheese-wire perforation of the innominate graft is unique. Her surgical rescue at both presentations was equally unusual, and without surgical precedent to the best of our knowledge. Was the initial innominate blow-out the result of localised innominate dissection, or more unusually, part of retrograde descending thoracic dissection with skip penetration of innominate artery and sparing of the intervening arch? Was it secondary to the minor fall she had sustained 1 week prior to the event, resulting in a false aneurysm or a contained hematoma next to the innominate artery? More intriguingly, did diffuse aortopathy underpin these diverse etiologies and result in penetrating intimal ulcer with blow out in the innominate artery, intramural hematoma in the arch and descending thoracic aorta and dissection in abdominal aorta at different points in time?
We review the current literature for these unusual afflictions of innominate trunk and its origin from the arch of aorta.
PMCID: PMC3652732  PMID: 23618057
Innominate artery blow-out; Innominate graft perforation; Hemothorax; Hemiparesis
2.  Mycotic Aneurysms of the Ascending Aorta in the Absence of Endocarditis 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2012;39(5):692-695.
Mycotic aneurysm formation is a rare and potentially fatal sequela of bacteremia. We present the cases of 2 octogenarians who had surgically confirmed mycotic aneurysms that involved the ascending aorta, with contained rupture (pseudoaneurysm). Neither patient had evidence of valvular endocarditis. Patient 1, an 82-year-old man, had streptococcal bacteremia. Imaging confirmed a mycotic aneurysm of the ascending aorta, and resection was successful. Patient 2, an 83-year-old woman, had recurrent staphylococcal bacteremia and progressive widening of the mediastinum, and imaging revealed a mycotic pseudoaneurysm. She underwent surgical repair with use of a bovine pericardial patch, but she died 2 weeks later because of patch dehiscence.
We did not initially suspect mycotic aneurysm in either patient. Despite the availability of accurate, noninvasive imaging techniques, strong clinical suspicion is required for the early diagnosis of mycotic aneurysm.
PMCID: PMC3461658  PMID: 23109770
Aneurysm, infected/diagnosis/etiology/pathology/surgery/ultrasonography; anti-bacterial agents/therapeutic use; aorta/pathology/surgery; aortic aneurysm/diagnosis/surgery; staphylococcus infections/complications/pathology
3.  Endovascular Repair of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm 
The Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a systematic review of the evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm in comparison to open surgical repair. An abdominal aortic aneurysm [AAA] is the enlargement and weakening of the aorta (major blood artery) that may rupture and result in stroke and death. Endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair [EVAR] is a procedure for repairing abdominal aortic aneurysms from within the blood vessel without open surgery. In this procedure, an aneurysm is excluded from blood circulation by an endograft (a device) delivered to the site of the aneurysm via a catheter inserted into an artery in the groin. The Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a review of the evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of this technology. The review included 44 eligible articles out of 489 citations identified through a systematic literature search. Most of the research evidence is based on non-randomized comparative studies and case series. In the short-term, EVAR appears to be safe and comparable to open surgical repair in terms of survival. It is associated with less severe hemodynamic changes, less blood transfusion and shorter stay in the intensive care and hospital. However, there is concern about a high incidence of endoleak, requiring secondary interventions, and in some cases, conversion to open surgical repair. Current evidence does not support the use of EVAR in all patients. EVAR might benefit individuals who are not fit for surgical repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm and whose risk of rupture of the aneurysm outweighs the risk of death from EVAR. The long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of EVAR cannot be determined at this time. Further evaluation of this technology is required.
The objective of this health technology policy assessment was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms (EVAR) in comparison to open surgical repair (OSR).
Clinical Need
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a localized, abnormal dilatation of the aorta greater than 3 cm or 50% of the aortic diameter at the diaphragm. (1) A true AAA involves all 3 layers of the vessel wall. If left untreated, the continuing extension and thinning of the vessel wall may eventually result in rupture of the AAA. The risk of death from ruptured AAA is 80% to 90%. (61) Heller et al. (44) analyzed information from a national hospital database in the United States. They found no significant change in the incidence rate of elective AAA repair or ruptured AAA presented to the nation’s hospitals. The investigators concluded that technologic and treatment advances over the past 19 years have not affected the outcomes of patients with AAAs, and the ability to identify and to treat patients with AAAs has not improved.
Classification of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
At least 90% of the AAAs are affected by atherosclerosis, and most of these aneurysms are below the level of the renal arteries.(1)
An abdominal aortic aneurysm may be symptomatic or asymptomatic. An AAA may be classified according to their sizes:(7)
Small aneurysms: less than 5 cm in diameter.
Medium aneurysms: 5-7cm.
Large aneurysms: more than 7 cm in diameter.
Small aneurysms account for approximately 50% of all clinically recognized aneurysms.(7)
Aortic aneurysms may be classified according to their gross appearance as follows (1):
Fusiform aneurysms affect the entire circumference of a vessel, resulting in a diffusely dilated lesion
Saccular aneurysms involve only a portion of the circumference, resulting in an outpouching (protrusion) in the vessel wall.
Prevalence of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
In community surveys, the prevalence of AAA is reported to be between 1% and 5.4%. (61) The prevalence is related to age and vascular risk factors. It is more common in men and in those with a positive family history.
In Canada, Abdominal aortic aneurysms are the 10th leading cause of death in men 65 years of age or older. (60) Naylor (60) reported that the rate of AAA repair in Ontario has increased from 38 per 100,000 population in 1981/1982 to 54 per 100,000 population in 1991/1992. For the period of 1989/90 to 1991/92, the rate of AAA repair in Ontarians age 45 years and over was 53 per 100,000. (60) In the United States, about 200,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and 50,000 to 60,000 surgical AAA repairs are performed. (2) Ruptured AAAs are responsible for about 15,000 deaths in the United States annually. One in 10 men older than 80 years has some aneurysmal change in his aorta. (2)
Symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
AAAs usually do not produce symptoms. However, as they expand, they may become painful. Compression or erosion of adjacent tissue by aneurysms also may cause symptoms. The formation of mural thrombi, a type of blood clots, within the aneurysm may predispose people to peripheral embolization, where blood vessels become blocked. Occasionally, an aneurysm may leak into the vessel wall and the periadventitial area, causing pain and local tenderness. More often, acute rupture occurs without any prior warning, causing acute pain and hypotension. This complication is always life-threatening and requires an emergency operation.
Diagnosis of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
An AAA is usually detected on routine examination as a palpable, pulsatile, and non-tender mass. (1)
Abdominal radiography may show the calcified outline of the aneurysms; however, about 25% of aneurysms are not calcified and cannot be visualized by plain x-ray. (1) An abdominal ultrasound provides more accurate detection, can delineate the traverse and longitudinal dimensions of the aneurysm, and is useful for serial documentation of aneurysm size. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance have also been used for follow-up of aortic aneurysms. These technologies, particularly contrast-enhanced computer tomography, provide higher resolution than ultrasound.
Abdominal aortography remains the gold standard to evaluate patients with aneurysms for surgery. This technique helps document the extent of the aneurysms, especially their upper and lower limits. It also helps show the extent of associated athereosclerotic vascular disease. However, the procedure carries a small risk of complications, such as bleeding, allergic reactions, and atheroembolism. (1)
Prognosis of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
The risk of rupture of an untreated AAA is a continuous function of aneurysm size as represented by the maximal diameter of the AAA. The annual rupture rate is near zero for aneurysms less than 4 cm in diameter. The risk is about 1% per year for aneurysms 4 to 4.9 cm, 11% per year for aneurysms 5 to 5.9 cm, and 25% per year or more for aneurysms greater than 6 cm. (7)
The 1-year mortality rate of patients with AAAs who do not undergo surgical treatment is about 25% if the aneurysms are 4 to 6 cm in diameter. This increases to 50% for aneurysms exceeding 6 cm. Other major causes of mortality for people with AAAs include coronary heart disease and stroke.
Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
Treatment of an aneurysm is indicated under any one of the following conditions:
The AAA is greater than 6 cm in diameter.
The patient is symptomatic.
The AAA is rapidly expanding irrespective of the absolute diameter.
Open surgical repair of AAA is still the gold standard. It is a major operation involving the excision of dilated area and placement of a sutured woven graft. The surgery may be performed under emergent situation following the rupture of an AAA, or it may be performed electively.
Elective OSR is generally considered appropriate for healthy patients with aneurysms 5 to 6 cm in diameter. (7) Coronary artery disease is the major underlying illness contributing to morbidity and mortality in OSR. Other medical comorbidities, such as chronic renal failure, chronic lung disease, and liver cirrhosis with portal hypertension, may double or triple the usual risk of OSR.
Serial noninvasive follow-up of small aneurysms (less than 5 cm) is an alternative to immediate surgery.
Endovascular repair of AAA is the third treatment option and is the topic of this review.
PMCID: PMC3387737  PMID: 23074438
4.  Endovascular Repair of Descending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm 
Executive Summary
To conduct an assessment on endovascular repair of descending thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA).
Clinical Need
Aneurysm is the most common condition of the thoracic aorta requiring surgery. Aortic aneurysm is defined as a localized dilatation of the aorta. Most aneurysms of the thoracic aorta are asymptomatic and incidentally discovered. However, TAA tends to enlarge progressively and compress surrounding structures causing symptoms such as chest or back pain, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), dyspnea (shortness of breath), cough, stridor (a harsh, high-pitched breath sound), and hoarseness. Significant aortic regurgitation causes symptoms of congestive heart failure. Embolization of the thrombus to the distal arterial circulation may occur and cause related symptoms. The aneurysm may eventually rupture and create a life-threatening condition.
The overall incidence rate of TAA is about 10 per 100,000 person-years. The descending aorta is involved in about 30% to 40% of these cases.
The prognosis of large untreated TAAs is poor, with a 3-year survival rate as low as 25%. Intervention is strongly recommended for any symptomatic TAA or any TAA that exceeds twice the diameter of a normal aorta or is 6 cm or larger. Open surgical treatment of TAA involves left thoracotomy and aortic graft replacement. Surgical treatment has been found to improve survival when compared with medical therapy. However, despite dramatic advances in surgical techniques for performing such complex operations, operative mortality from centres of excellence are between 8% and 20% for elective cases, and up to 50% in patients requiring emergency operations. In addition, survivors of open surgical repair of TAAs may suffer from severe complications. Postoperative or postprocedural complications of descending TAA repair include paraplegia, myocardial infarction, stroke, respiratory failure, renal failure, and intestinal ischemia.
The Technology
Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) using a stent graft, a procedure called endovascular stent-graft (ESG) placement, is a new alternative to the traditional surgical approach. It is less invasive, and initial results from several studies suggest that it may reduce mortality and morbidity associated with the repair of descending TAAs.
The goal in endovascular repair is to exclude the aneurysm from the systemic circulation and prevent it from rupturing, which is life-threatening. The endovascular placement of a stent graft eliminates the systemic pressure acting on the weakened wall of the aneurysm that may lead to the rupture. However, ESG placement has some specific complications, including endovascular leak (endoleak), graft migration, stent fracture, and mechanical damage to the access artery and aortic wall.
The Talent stent graft (manufactured by Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, MN) is licensed in Canada for the treatment of patients with TAA (Class 4; licence 36552). The design of this device has evolved since its clinical introduction. The current version has a more flexible delivery catheter than did the original system. The prosthesis is composed of nitinol stents between thin layers of polyester graft material. Each stent is secured with oversewn sutures to prevent migration.
Review Strategy
To compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ESG placement in the treatment of TAAs with a conventional surgical approach
To summarize the safety profile and effectiveness of ESG placement in the treatment of descending TAAs
Measures of Effectiveness
Primary Outcome
Mortality rates (30-day and longer term)
Secondary Outcomes
Technical success rate of introducing a stent graft and exclusion of the aneurysm sac from systemic circulation
Rate of reintervention (through surgical or endovascular approach)
Measures of Safety
Complications were categorized into 2 classes:
Those specific to the ESG procedure, including rates of aneurysm rupture, endoleak, graft migration, stent fracture, and kinking; and
Those due to the intervention, either surgical or endovascular. These include paraplegia, stroke, cardiovascular events, respiratory failure, real insufficiency, and intestinal ischemia.
Inclusion Criteria
Studies comparing the clinical outcomes of ESG treatment with surgical approaches
Studies reporting on the safety and effectiveness of the ESG procedure for the treatment of descending TAAs
Exclusion Criteria
Studies investigating the clinical effectiveness of ESG placement for other conditions such as aortic dissection, aortic ulcer, and traumatic injuries of the thoracic aorta
Studies investigating the aneurysms of the ascending and the arch of the aorta
Studies using custom-made grafts
Literature Search
The Medical Advisory Secretariat searched The International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for health technology assessments. It also searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Medline In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, and Cochrane CENTRAL from January 1, 2000 to July 11, 2005 for studies on ESG procedures. The search was limited to English-language articles and human studies.
One health technology assessment from the United Kingdom was identified. This systematic review included all pathologies of the thoracic aorta; therefore, it did not match the inclusion criteria. The search yielded 435 citations; of these, 9 studies met inclusion criteria.
Summary of Findings
The results of a comparative study found that in-hospital mortality was not significantly different between ESG placement and surgery patients (2 [4.8%] for ESG vs. 6 [11.3%] for surgery).
Pooled data from case series with a mean follow-up ranging from 12 to 38 months showed a 30-day mortality and late mortality rate of 3.9% and 5.5%, respectively. These rates are lower than are those reported in the literature for surgical repair of TAA.
Case series showed that the most common cause of early death in patients undergoing endovascular repair is aortic rupture, and the most common causes of late death are cardiac events and aortoesophageal or aortobronchial fistula.
Technical Success Rate
Technical success rates reported by case series are 55% to 100% (100% and 94.4% in 2 studies with all elective cases, 89% in a study with 5% emergent cases, and 55% in a study with 42% emergent cases).
Surgical Reintervention
In the comparative study, 3 (7.1%) patients in the ESG group and 14 (26.5%) patients in the surgery group required surgical reintervention. In the ESG group, the reasons for surgical intervention were postoperative bleeding at the access site, paraplegia, and type 1 endoleak. In the surgical group, the reasons for surgery were duodenal perforation, persistent thoracic duct leakage, false aneurysm, and 11 cases of postoperative bleeding.
Pooled data from case series show that 9 (2.6%) patients required surgical intervention. The reasons for surgical intervention were endoleak (3 cases), aneurysm enlargement and suspected infection (1 case), aortic dissection (1 case), pseudoaneurysm of common femoral artery (1 case), evacuation of hematoma (1 case), graft migration (1 case), and injury to the access site (1 case).
Endovascular Revision
In the comparative study, 3 (7.1%) patients required endovascular revision due to persistent endoleak.
Pooled data from case series show that 19 (5.3%) patients required endovascular revision due to persistent endoleak.
Graft Migration
Two case series reported graft migration. In one study, 3 proximal and 4 component migrations were noted at 2-year follow-up (total of 5%). Another study reported 1 (3.7%) case of graft migration. Overall, the incidence of graft migration was 2.6%.
Aortic Rupture
In the comparative study, aortic rupture due to bare stent occurred in 1 case (2%). The pooled incidence of aortic rupture or dissection reported by case series was 1.4%.
Postprocedural Complications
In the comparative study, there were no statistically significant differences between the ESG and surgery groups in postprocedural complications, except for pneumonia. The rate of pneumonia was 9% for those who received an ESG and 28% for those who had surgery (P = .02). There were no cases of paraplegia in either group. The rate of other complications for ESG and surgery including stroke, cardiac, respiratory, and intestinal ischemia were all 5.1% for ESG placement and 10% for surgery. The rate for mild renal failure was 16% in the ESG group and 30% in the surgery group. The rate for severe renal failure was 11% for ESG placement and 10% for surgery.
Pooled data from case series show the following postprocedural complication rates in the ESG placement group: paraplegia (2.2%), stroke (3.9%), cardiac (2.9%), respiratory (8.7%), renal failure (2.8%), and intestinal ischemia (1%).
Time-Related Outcomes
The results of the comparative study show statistically significant differences between the ESG and surgery group for mean operative time (ESG, 2.7 hours; surgery, 5 hours), mean duration of intensive care unit stay (ESG, 11 days; surgery, 14 days), and mean length of hospital stay (ESG, 10 days; surgery, 30 days).
The mean duration of intensive care unit stay and hospital stay derived from case series is 1.6 and 7.8 days, respectively.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
In Ontario, the annual treatment figures for fiscal year 2004 include 17 cases of descending TAA repair procedures (source: Provincial Health Planning Database). Fourteen of these have been identified as “not ruptured” with a mean hospital length of stay of 9.23 days, and 3 cases have been identified as “ruptured,” with a mean hospital length of stay of 28 days. However, because one Canadian Classification of Health Interventions code was used for both procedures, it is not possible to determine how many were repaired with an EVAR procedure or with an open surgical procedure.
Hospitalization Costs
The current fiscal year forecast of in-hospital direct treatment costs for all in-province procedures of repair of descending TAAs is about $560,000 (Cdn). The forecast in-hospital total cost per year for in-province procedures is about $720,000 (Cdn). These costs include the device cost when the procedure is EVAR (source: Ontario Case Costing Initiative).
Professional (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) Costs
Professional costs per treated patient were calculated and include 2 preoperative thoracic surgery or EVAR consultations.
The professional costs of an EVAR include the fees paid to the surgeons, anesthetist, and surgical assistant (source: fee service codes). The procedure was calculated to take about 150 minutes.
The professional costs of an open surgical repair include the fees of the surgeon, anesthetist, and surgical assistant. Open surgical repair was estimated to take about 300 minutes.
Services provided by professionals in intensive care units were also taken into consideration, as were the costs of 2 postoperative consultations that the patients receive on average once they are discharged from the hospital. Therefore, total Ontario Health Insurance Plan costs per treated patient treated with EVAR are on average $2,956 (ruptured or not ruptured), as opposed to $5,824 for open surgical repair and $6,157 for open surgical repair when the aneurysm is ruptured.
Endovascular stent graft placement is a less invasive procedure for repair of TAA than is open surgical repair.
There is no high-quality evidence with long-term follow-up data to support the use of EVAR as the first choice of treatment for patients with TAA that are suitable candidates for surgical intervention.
However, short- and medium-term outcomes of ESG placement reported by several studies are satisfactory and comparable to surgical intervention; therefore, for patients at high risk of surgery, it is a practical option to consider. Short- and medium-term results show that the benefit of ESG placement over the surgical approach is a lower 30-day mortality and paraplegia rate; and shorter operative time, ICU stay, and hospital stay.
PMCID: PMC3382300  PMID: 23074469
5.  Sun’s procedure for complex aortic arch repair: total arch replacement using a tetrafurcate graft with stented elephant trunk implantation 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2013;2(5):642-648.
The Sun’s procedure is a surgical technique proposed by Dr. Li-Zhong Sun in 2002 that integrates total aortic arch replacement using a tetrafurcated graft with implantation of a specially designed frozen elephant trunk (Cronus®) in the descending aorta. It is used as a treatment option for extensive aortic dissections or aneurysms involving the ascending aorta, aortic arch and the descending aorta. The technical essentials of Sun’s procedure include implantation of the special open stented graft into the descending aorta, total arch replacement with a 4-branched vascular graft, right axillary artery cannulation, selective antegrade cerebral perfusion for brain protection, moderate hypothermic circulatory arrest at 25 °C, a special anastomotic sequence for aortic reconstruction (i.e., proximal descending aorta → left carotid artery → ascending aorta → left subclavian artery → innominate artery), and early rewarming and reperfusion after distal anastomosis to minimize cerebral and cardiac ischemia. The core advantage of Sun’s procedure lies in the use of a unique stented graft, which has superior technical simplicity, flexibility, inherent mechanical durability and an extra centimeter of attached regular vascular graft at both ends. Since its introduction in 2003, the Sun’s procedure has produced satisfactory early and long-term results in over 8,000 patients in China and more than 200 patients in South American countries. In a series of 1,092 patients, the authors have achieved an in-hospital mortality rate of 6.27% (7.98% in emergent or urgent vs. 3.98% in elective cases). Given the accumulating clinical experience and the consequent, continual evolution of surgical indications, the Sun’s procedure is becoming increasingly applied/used worldwide as an innovative and imaginative enhancement of surgical options for the dissected (or aneurysmal) ascending aorta, aortic arch and proximal descending aorta, and may become the next standard treatment for type A aortic dissections requiring repair of the aortic arch.
PMCID: PMC3791186  PMID: 24109575
Sun’s procedure; frozen elephant trunk; aortic arch surgery; aortic dissection; aortic aneurysm
6.  Proximal aortic arch cannulation for proximal ascending aortic aneurysms 
Different arterial inflow sites have been reported to date for particularly challenging cardiac operations. The ascending aorta, femoral artery, and subclavian artery are the most commonly used sites. Although its use has been reported, the aortic arch has not gained popularity in the performance of cannulation. According to a search performed in the PubMed database, aortic arch cannulation for ascending aorta replacement has not been examined in a separate study before. In the present study, we report the treatment outcomes of patients with ascending aortic aneurysms in whom the aortic arch was cannulated for arterial inflow.
Material and methods
Twenty-seven patients with aneurysmal dilatation of the ascending aorta underwent ascending aorta replacement from April 2010 to March 2013. The mean age of the patients was 64 years. All operations were carried out by cannulating the aortic arch distally from the origin of the innominate artery.
There was no mortality or cannulation-related morbidity. In 23 patients, only the supracoronary ascending aorta was replaced, whereas in 4 patients, the button modification of the Bentall procedure was performed to replace the root and the ascending aorta.
The technique of aortic arch cannulation distal to the origin of the innominate artery is worthy of consideration in the treatment of aneurysms limited to the ascending aorta due to its safety, simplicity, and low morbidity.
PMCID: PMC4283866  PMID: 26336409
aneurysm; aorta/aortic; cardiopulmonary bypass
7.  Total aortic arch replacement: current approach using the trifurcated graft technique 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2013;2(3):347-352.
Since the pioneering work of DeBakey, Cooley, and colleagues more than 50 years ago, surgical treatment of aneurysms involving the transverse aortic arch has been associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Over the past 15 years, techniques for replacing the diseased aortic arch have evolved substantially. Previously, our approach to these operations involved femoral cannulation, profound-to-deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and retrograde cerebral perfusion, and the island technique for reattaching the brachiocephalic vessels. In contrast, we currently use innominate artery cannulation, deep-to-moderate hypothermic circulatory arrest with antegrade cerebral perfusion, bilateral cerebral monitoring with near-infrared spectroscopy, and the trifurcated graft (Y-graft) technique for reattaching the arch branches. Cannulating the innominate artery to provide an inflow site for cardiopulmonary bypass has facilitated the use of antegrade cerebral perfusion as a cerebral protection strategy; the left common carotid artery is additionally perfused to provide bilateral cerebral perfusion. Despite having a systemic circulatory arrest time that often exceeds 60 minutes, these improved perfusion strategies make it possible to consistently avoid cerebral circulatory arrest all together. A moderate temperature target of between 18 and 23 °C is now used; this appears to reduce the risk of hypothermic coagulopathy and improve hemostasis. Y-graft techniques, such as the trifurcated graft approach, have the advantages of eliminating residual aortic arch tissue and being easily tailored to the needs of the individual patient. This report describes total aortic arch replacement in patients with aneurysms that are confined to the ascending aorta and transverse aortic arch.
PMCID: PMC3741858  PMID: 23977604
Aortic arch surgery; total arch replacement; trifurcated graft
8.  Open reconstruction of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2012;1(3):373-380.
Technical details of our strategy for reconstructing the thoracoabdominal aorta are presented. Between October 1999 and June 2012, 152 patients underwent surgery for thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (Crawford classification type I =21, type II =43, type III =73, type IV =15). Mean age was 64.6±13.9 years. Sixty-three (41.4%) patients had aortic dissection, including acute type B dissection in 2 (1.2%) and ruptured aneurysms in 17 (11.2%). Eight (5.3%) patients had mycotic aneurysms, and 3 (2.0%) had aortitis. Emergent or urgent surgery was performed in 25 (16.4%) patients. Preoperative computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance (MR) angiography detected the Adamkiewicz artery in 103 (67.8%) patients. Cerebrospinal fluid drainage (CSFD) was performed in 115 (75.7%) patients and intraoperative motor evoked potentials were recorded in 97 (63.8%). One hundred and seven (70.4%) patients had reconstruction of the intercostal arteries from T7 to L2, 35 of which were reconstructed with the aortic patch technique and 72 with branched grafts. The mean number of reconstructed intercostal arteries was 3.1±2.5 pairs. Mild hypothermic partial cardiopulmonary bypass at 32-34 °C was used in 105 (69.1%) patients, left heart bypass was used in 4 (2.6%), and deep hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass below 20 °C was used in 42 (27.6%). Thirty-day mortality was 9 (5.9%), and hospital mortality was 20 (13.2%). Independent risk factors for hospital mortality were emergency surgery (OR 13.4, P=0.003) and aortic cross clamping over 2 hours (OR 5.7, P=0.04). Postoperative spinal cord ischemia occurred in 16 (10.5%, 8 patients with paraplegia and 8 with paraparesis). Risk factors for developing spinal cord ischemic complications were prior surgery involving either the descending thoracic or the abdominal aorta (OR 3.75, P=0.05), diabetes mellitus (OR 5.49, P=0.03), and post-bypass hypotension <80 mmHg (OR 1.06, P=0.03). Postoperative survival at 5 years was 83.6±4.5%; 5-year survival was 47.5±8.6% in patients with spinal cord ischemia and 88.9±10.4% in those without spinal cord ischemia.
PMCID: PMC3741768  PMID: 23977523
Thoracoabdominal aorta; spinal cord ischemia; intercostal artery reconstruction; postoperative paraplegia
9.  Outcomes of Aortic Arch Replacement Performed Without Circulatory Arrest or Deep Hypothermia 
AORTA  2013;1(2):102-109.
Background: Aortic arch replacement using standard techniques, including deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and selective antegrade cerebral perfusion, is still associated with significant mortality and cerebral morbidity. We have previously described the “branch-first” technique that avoids circulatory arrest or profound hypothermia with excellent outcomes. We now describe our clinical experience with a larger cohort of patients as well as follow-up of our earlier results. We also describe a further technical simplification to this technique. Methods: From 2005 to 2010, 43 patients underwent a “branch-first continuous perfusion” technique for aortic arch replacement. In this technique, arterial perfusion is peripheral, usually by femoral inflow. Disconnection of each arch branch and anastomosis to a perfused trifurcation graft proceeds sequentially from the innominate to the left subclavian artery, with uninterrupted perfusion of the heart and viscera by the peripheral cannula. In the first cohort perfusion to the trifurcation graft was by right axillary cannulation. Since 2009, a modification was introduced such that perfusion is supplied directly by a sidearm on the trifurcation graft. This was used in the last 18 patients of this series. After reconstruction of the debranched arch and ascending aorta, the common stem of the trifurcation graft is anastomosed to the arch graft. In this series, there were 27 males, and mean age was 63 ± 13 years. Fifteen cases (35%) were performed with urgent/emergent priority. Nineteen patients (44%) were operated for aortic dissection, and the remainder for aneurysms. Seven patients (16%) had previously undergone a cardiac surgical procedure. Results: There were two (4.7%) early mortalities while one patient (2.3%) experienced a permanent stroke. One patient (2%) required mechanical support while three (7%) required hemofiltration for renal support. Extubation was achieved within 24 hours in 21 patients (49%) while 19 (42%) were discharged from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) within two days. Eight patients (19%) did not require any transfusion of red cells or platelets. Mean follow-up duration was 21 ± 19 months and was 100% complete. At three years, survival was 95 ± 3.2%. No patients required subsequent aortic reoperation during this early follow-up period. Conclusions: This modified branch-first continuous perfusion technique brings us closer to the goal of arch surgery without cerebral or visceral circulatory arrest and the morbidity of deep hypothermia. Our early experience is encouraging although greater numbers and longer follow-up will reveal the full potential of this approach.
PMCID: PMC4682708  PMID: 26798681
Aortic arch; Aortic surgery; Cerebral protection
10.  Left ventricular assist device outflow graft: alternative sites 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2014;3(5):541-545.
We describe three alternative approaches for the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) outflow graft during implantation of the LVAD. The supraceliac abdominal aorta, innominate artery and left axillary artery were employed as alternative sites for the LVAD outflow graft in the setting of a heavily calcified ascending aorta or a hostile chest wall and mediastinum. The first approach involved the use of the supraceliac abdominal aorta. Given that the patient had a history of multiple previous breast surgeries and chest wall radiation for breast cancer treatment, a left subcostal incision was employed as a sternotomy-sparing approach. The second approach was the use of the innominate artery in a patient with a porcelain ascending aorta. The patient underwent pulmonary valve replacement, right ventricle outflow tract reconstruction and tricuspid valve annuloplasty in addition to the LVAD implantation. The third approach was the use of the left axillary artery. This patient had a history of LVAD implantation and subsequently developed infection with pseudoaneurysm formation at the aortic anastomosis of the outflow graft. We conclude that the supraceliac abdominal aorta, the innominate artery and the left axillary artery are potential alternative routes for the LVAD outflow graft in the settings of heavily calcified ascending aorta or a hostile chest wall and mediastinum. Although the described alternative approaches are safe and viable options, we highly recommend utilizing these approaches only in selected patients with significantly higher risks and hazards to the standard surgical approach.
PMCID: PMC4229468  PMID: 25452918
Left ventricular assist device (LVAD); outflow graft; supraceliac abdominal aorta; axillary artery; calcified ascending aorta
11.  Technical Challenges in Endovascular Repair of Complex Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms 
Annals of Vascular Diseases  2012;5(1):21-29.
Background: Endovascular aneurysm repair has gained widespread acceptance, and there has been a significant increase in the number of aneurysms treated with stent grafts. However, the endovascular technique alone is often not appropriate for anatomically complex aneurysms involving the neck branches. We used the TAG stent for thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA), and report our initial results.
Patients and Results: We deployed 80 TAG stents in 65 patients electively treated with TAA between June 2006 and June 2008. Thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR) was performed in 45 cases of descending aortic aneurysm with no morbidity or mortality. A combination of open surgery and TEVAR was performed in 11 out of 20 cases with aneurysms of the aortic arch. The prior total arch replacement and elephant trunk procedure was performed in 3 cases with dilated ascending aorta, total debranching from ascending aorta with sternotomy in 5, and carotid-carotid artery crossover bypass in 3 cases. Meanwhile, TEVAR with coverage of the left subclavian artery was performed in the remaining 9 distal arch cases. In 3 cases with extremely short necks, a 0.018” guide wire was inserted percutaneously in a retrograde manner through the common carotid artery (CCA) into the ascending aorta to place the stent graft in close proximity to the CCA (wire protection). In 1 of these 3 cases, the TAG stent was deployed through the CCA, and the 0.018” guide wire was used to deliver a balloon-expandable stent in order to restore the patency of the CCA. In arch and distal arch aneurysm cases, perioperative mortality and the incidence of stroke were both 5.0%; dissection of the ascending aorta was seen in one case (5.0%).
Conclusion: As treatment for descending aortic aneurysms, TEVAR can replace conventional open repair. However, TEVAR for arch aneurysms has some problems, and further improvement is necessary. (English Translation of Jpn J Vasc Surg 2010; 19: 547-555.)
PMCID: PMC3595906  PMID: 23555482
Keywordsthoracic aortic aneurysm; endovascular surgery; stent graft
12.  Surgical Management of Ascending Aortic Aneurysm and Its Complications 
Ascending aortic aneurysms involving the proximal aortic arch, arising anywhere from the aortic valve to the innominate artery, represent various problems in which open surgery is generally required. Surgical options include excision of the aortic pathology or wrapping the aneurysm shell with an aortic Dacron graft. Intervention using the latter method can lead to extravasation of blood along the suture lines resulting in continuous bleeding within the periprosthetic space. The Cabrol technique was developed as a method for decompression of postoperative leaks by the formation of a conduit system from the periprosthetic space to the right atrium. The coronary ostia are anastomosed to a second graft in an end-to-end fashion, which is then anastomosed to the ascending aortic conduit side to side. The native aorta is then sewn around the prosthesis, hereby creating a shunt to drain anastomotic leakage. This shunt reduces postsurgical risk of pseudoaneurysm formation and normally closes a few days following surgery. We discuss the case of a patient who underwent Cabrol's variation and six months later was demonstrated to have a patent shunt.
PMCID: PMC4096059  PMID: 25089212
13.  Salmonella-related mycotic pseudoaneurysm of the superficial femoral artery 
Mycotic pseudoaneurysms of native arteries are rare. Treatment involves arterial excision with or without revascularization.
Presentation of case
A 49-year-old diabetic man presented with a 4-month history of progressive left mid-thigh pain, associated with a pulsatile mass and fever. Clinically, he appeared to have a mycotic pseudoaneurysm, which was confirmed by computed tomography. The aneurysm was excluded from the circulation by an extra-anatomical bypass graft using autologous vein.
Native arterial mycotic pseudoaneurysms typically occur in immuno-compromised patients. They may be successfully treated using autologous vein bypass.
Arterial infection is associated with immunosuppressive states and Staphylococcus aureus is the most commonly isolated organism in mycotic aneurysms. Also, Escherichia coli, Salmonella sp. and anaerobic species have been identified. Salmonella species are associated with mycotic aneurysms in the abdominal aorta and the use of autogenous vein grafts is the standard treatment for this condition. In lower extremities, autogenous conduits have been already used with good results of patency and freedom from re-infection. Endovascular treatment is a feasible approach in these situations, but there is not reports regarding long term results and this treatment is occasionally associated with prosthesis infection.
PMCID: PMC3267273  PMID: 22288036
Pseudoaneurysm; Femoral artery; Salmonella
14.  Stenosis or Occlusion of the Right Subclavian and Common Carotid Arteries Is More Common than That of the Innominate Artery in Takayasu Arteritis 
Vascular Specialist International  2015;31(4):120-124.
The aim of this study was to introduce the phenomenon that stenosis or occlusion occurs less frequently in the innominate artery than in the right subclavian and common carotid arteries, which are not first-order branches of the aorta, in Takayasu arteritis (TA).
Materials and Methods:
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records and image findings of all patients who were diagnosed with TA from 2006 to 2014. Two vascular surgeons and two radiologists interpreted the images by disease character, location, and extent of occlusion based on computed tomography angiography, magnetic resonance angiography, or digital subtraction arteriography. We have also reviewed the literature on arterial involvement in TA.
A total of 42 patients were diagnosed with TA. The mean age was 43.9 years, and 83.3% (35/42) of the patients were women. The left subclavian artery was the most common stenosis or occlusion site (17, 40.5%) among the aortic branches. The innominate artery was a less common site (3, 7.1%) than the right subclavian artery (4, 9.5%) and the right common carotid artery (9, 21.4%). All innominate artery cases were found after endovascular procedures of the right subclavian or common carotid arteries.
The innominate artery might develop stenosis or occlusion less frequently than the right subclavian and common carotid arteries in Korean TA patients.
PMCID: PMC4694183  PMID: 26719838
Takayasu arteritis; Brachiocephalic trunk; Aorta; Pathologic constriction; Cerebrovascular disorders
15.  Mediastinitis and Mycotic Aneurysm of the Aorta after Orthotopic Heart Transplantation 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  1991;18(3):186-193.
After cardiac transplantation, bacterial mediastinitis is a rare but dangerous early complication. Of the 113 patients who underwent heart or heart-lung transplantation at our hospital from August 1981 to April 1989, 8 developed purulent mediastinitis. Treatment involved surgical débridment, local irrigation, drainage, and high-dose systemic antibiotics. No patient died of an acute mediastinal infection. In 2 cases, however, chronic mediastinitis led to the formation of a huge mycotic aneurysm of the ascending aorta. Eleven days after surgical intervention for rupture, 1 patient died of aneurysmal rerupture; the 2nd patient remains well 16 months after prosthetic replacement of the ascending aorta and reconstruction of the necrotic proximal portion of the left coronary artery with a saphenous vein patch. (Texas Heart Institute Journal 1991;18:186-93)
PMCID: PMC324995  PMID: 15227478
Aneurysm, infected; heart transplantation; mediastinitis
16.  Coronary Reconnection in Emergency “Conduit Operation” for Acute Type-A Aortic Dissection with Aortic Insufficiency: Experience with 24 Cases 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  1987;14(4):418-421.
Twenty-four cases of acute type-A aortic dissection with aortic valvular insufficiency were treated in our institution by means of an emergency operation in which the aortic valve, ascending aorta, and aortic arch were resected and replaced with a valved conduit that had been lengthened with a tubular Dacron graft. The procedure included the use of deep hypothermia for cerebral protection, as well as extracorporeal circulation. Aortic resection was performed from the aortic valve to the origin of the descending thoracic aorta; the aortic graft was anastomosed proximally to the valve annulus and distally to the descending aorta. The carotid orifices were connected to the side of the graft in a single tissue button. The coronary arteries were then reconnected by means of double venous bypass grafts to the innominate artery, to allow for inclusion of the graft. Within 1 month after operation, four patients died of the consequences of dissection. Six months postoperatively, one patient succumbed to an infarction. Six months to 5 years after operation, the remaining 19 patients are still alive. On the basis of this experience, we believe that acute type-A aortic dissection with aortic valvular insufficiency should be treated during the first hours after the onset of symptoms. The above-described procedure proved effective in the control of bleeding, which is the major risk in emergency operations of this type. (Texas Heart Institute Journal 1987; 14:418-421)
PMCID: PMC324767  PMID: 15227299
Aorta, thoracic; aortic valve insufficiency; aneurysm, dissecting aortic
17.  Extraanatomical coronary artery bypass grafting in patients with severely atherosclerotic (Porcelain) aorta 
Cannulation, cross clamping, or partial clamping of the aorta during a proximal anastomosis may cause embolic complications in patients with severely atherosclerotic (porcelain) aortas. These patients carry high morbidity and mortality risks due to intraoperative atheroembolism.
Between June 2008 and May 2010, 972 open heart surgery operations were performed in our department. In this group there were 41 patients who had severe atherosclerotic plaques in the aorta (porcelain aorta), and 9 of these underwent an extraanatomical coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). These 9 patients were retrospectively analyzed and their demographic data, patient risk factors, and preferred surgical methods were reviewed.
Seven patients underwent two-vessel CABG, while 2 underwent three-vessel CABG. Off-pump surgery was performed for 7 patients. CABG was performed with beating heart technique under cardiopulmonary bypass via femoral artery and right atrial cannulation without cross clamping in 2 of the patients. Postoperative course was uneventful in all patients. Mean length of stay in the intensive care unit was 2.11 ± 0.78 days. Mean hospitalization was 7.22 ± 0.97 days. Mean follow-up was 11.33 ± 3.67 months, and no cerebrovascular events were observed during this period. Postoperative evaluation of the grafts by multislice computed tomography revealed sufficient patency in all patients.
Innominate artery is an alternative inflow source for the untouchable ascending aorta caused by severe atherosclerotic disease (porcelain aorta). In this group of patients, the risk of systemic embolisation and perioperative neurologic complications can be minimized by avoiding manipulation of the ascending aorta and using the innominate artery.
PMCID: PMC3639065  PMID: 23587129
Aortic diseases; Atherosclerosis; Porcelain aorta; Coronary artery bypass grafting
18.  Surgical strategy to prevent cardiac injury during reoperation in infants 
Simplified Aortic Cannulation (SAC), wherein the innominate artery is used as the arterial inflow site rather than the ascending aorta, has proved to be a useful technique for arterial cannulation especially for small neonates undergoing complex cardiac operations. Since few technical options are available for re-entry cardiac injuries in small infants, we postulate that this technique may be equally helpful in those situations.
Case Presentation
We employed SAC in 4 infants undergoing reoperative cardiac surgery (prior Norwood, n = 2; prior arterial switch operation with suprasystemic pulmonary artery pressures after a Le Compte maneuver, n = 1; prior Ebstein's anomaly, n = 1). In all cases the innominate artery was exposed at the level of the supra-sternal notch, and a 3.5 mm expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) graft was anastomosed to the innominate artery (n = 3), and a 10 French cannula inserted into the graft for whole-body perfusion. Right atrial cannulation was obtained by dividing the anterior aspect of the diaphragm at the level of the xiphisternum, gaining easy access to the right atrial-inferior vena cava junction, without separating the sternal edges.
Discussion and Evaluation
All four infants successfully underwent their operations using SAC. In one case (2nd stage palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome) a cardiac injury occurred upon sternal reentry, but utilizing SAC, this was repaired without consequence.
Simplified aortic cannulation and direct right atrial cannulation may be obtained without dividing the sternum in complex reoperative infant surgeries, without making additional incisions. This may be life-saving in reoperative cardiac injuries in small infants.
PMCID: PMC2270272  PMID: 18307805
19.  Mycotic pseudoaneurysm of the ascending aorta caused by Escherichia coli 
An 81-year old woman with high fever and a history of hospital admission because of pyelonephritis 3 months previously was transferred to our hospital. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography revealed a mycotic pseudoaneurysm in the ascending aorta and a massive pericardial effusion. We resected the ascending aorta and the proximal part of the brachiocephalic artery and performed in situ revascularization with a prosthetic vascular graft. Bacterial examination proved that the causative micro-organism was Escherichia coli. The prosthetic graft was wrapped with a pedicled omentum following completion of the aortic reconstruction. Her postoperative course was uneventful. She was discharged from the hospital 1 month postoperatively.
PMCID: PMC3523620  PMID: 23065748
Aneurysm (aorta/aortic); Infection; Pericardium; Prosthesis
20.  Mycotic Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Caused by Bacteroides Thetaiotaomicron and Acinetobacter Lwoffii: The First Case in Korea 
Infection & Chemotherapy  2014;46(1):54-58.
Mycotic aneurysms are uncommon, but are fatal without appropriate management. Previous reports have shown that anaerobes and gram-negative organisms are less common but more dangerous than other causative agents of mycotic aneurysm. We report the case of a 60-year-old man with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis in the aorta, and a 10-day of history of lower abdominal pain and fever. This man was diagnosed with an uncommon abdominal aorta mycotic aneurysm caused by Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and Acinetobacter lwoffii. The aneurysm was successfully treated with antibiotics therapy and aorto-bi-external iliac artery bypass with debridement of the infected aortic wall. We present this case together with a review of the relevant literature.
PMCID: PMC3970306  PMID: 24693472
Aneurysm; Infected; Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron; Acinetobacter lwoffii
21.  A short segment intracranial–intracranial jump graft bypass followed by proximal arterial occlusion for a distal MCA aneurysm 
To describe the use of a short segment cortical intracranial–intracranial (IC–IC) bypass for the treatment of a distal middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm.
Case Description:
A 54-year-old woman presented with a loss of consciousness followed by multiple seizures and was found to have a partially thrombosed distal MCA aneurysm. This possibly mycotic aneurysm was treated by creating a short segment jump graft between a normal cortical artery and a nearby cortical branch arising from the aneurysmal M3 arterial segment. The bypass allowed for subsequent occlusion of the aneurysmal vessel without ischemic consequence. At surgery, the anterior division of the superficial temporal artery (STA) was exposed and dissected. Intraoperative angiography was utilized to localize a cortical artery arising from the involved segment as well as a nearby cortical artery arising from a distinct, uninvolved MCA branch. A segment of the STA was harvested, and then 10-0 suture was utilized to anastomose this short segment, to both the involved and normal cortical arteries. This created a short jump graft allowing for subsequent sacrifice of the diseased artery. Following surgery, the patient immediately underwent coil embolization of the aneurysm back into the parent artery resulting in local vascular sacrifice. The remainder of the patient's hospital course was uneventful. She was discharged home in good condition.
We suggest that cortical IC–IC bypass followed by endovascular arterial sacrifice as performed in our case represents a simple and safe option for treating unclippable distal MCA aneurysms including mycotic lesions.
PMCID: PMC3144608  PMID: 21811704
Intracranial-intracranial bypass; middle cerebral artery; mycotic aneurysm
22.  P06: A new surgical method for anterior mediastinum tumors: a 3-hole approach 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2015;7(Suppl 3):AB075.
Thoracic Surgery, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an 710032, China
This study was to introduce a new surgical method for resecting anterior mediastinum tumors through a subxiphoid incision, which accurately combines the advantages of both video-assisted thoracic surgery and standard sternotomy for a minimally-invasive procedure with fewer complications.
From January to August 2014, 58 patients underwent surgery using this new method, 34 of whom had myasthenia gravis and had an extended thymectomy. The following surgical procedures were used: (I) with the patient in a supine position and legs apart at 45°–60°, a 2.0-cm incision was made below the xiphoid process to be used as the observation hole. Two 0.5-cm surgery holes were made along the bilateral rib arch at the midclavicular line, and two trocars were inserted into these holes using B-ultrasound guidance. Carbon dioxide (CO2) was pumped into the anterior mediastinum, the pressure was maintained at 8.0 mmH2O, and an ultrasound scalpel and a grasping forceps were inserted through the two surgery holes; (II) the retrosternal space, including the bilateral lower poles of thymus, internal mammary arteries, and phrenic nerves, were exposed using both blunt and sharp dissection. The thymus and its surrounding fat tissue were separated and the thymic veins were severed using an ultrasound scalpel; (III) for myasthenia gravis patients, the bilateral mediastinal pleurae and the affected adipose tissues (around the lower pole of thyroid, left innominate vein, aortic window, sulci venae cavae cranial is of the ascending aorta and bilateral phrenic nerves, and so on) were completely removed. During the entire procedure, the innominate vein, bilateral phrenic nerves, vagus nerves, and left recurrent laryngeal nerve were protected from injury; (IV) at the end of the surgery, the lungs were dilated to exhaust the CO2 and a latex tube was inserted through the observation hole to draw off all gas in the mediastinum. Drainage was not necessary.
The mean bleeding volume was 20 mL, the mean surgery time was 90 min, and the average postoperative hospital stay was 2 d. There were two cases (3.45% of the total) of sternotomy that were necessary because the affected sites could not be freed from the left innominate vein. No massive hemorrhage occurred in any of the cases. The postoperative mortality rate was 0, and no recurrence was observed in follow-up.
This new 3-hole surgical method combines the effectiveness and safety of a standard sternotomy with the minimal invasion and quick recovery of thoracoscopy. It can also thoroughly remove the affected sites using accurate and controllable steps with less postoperative pain, fewer complications, less economic burden, shorter postoperative hospital stay.
PMCID: PMC4700326
Anterior mediastinum tumors; new surgical method; 3-hole approach
23.  Surgical management of chronic occlusive disease of the aortic arch vessels and vertebral arteries. 
Occlusive disease of the aortic arch vessels is relatively rare and often missed initially. Of 41 patients treated surgically for this condition over a 10-year period 38 had arteriosclerotic lesions, 2 had symptoms secondary to vasculitis (Takayasu's arteritis) and 1 had a radiation injury to a subclavian artery. In 22 cases the left subclavian artery was involved; the right subclavian and innominate arteries were the next most commonly affected. Only four vertebral stenoses were treated. Most patients presented with a combination of arm and hindbrain ischemia that was shown radiologically to be associated with a subclavian steal syndrome, but in some only isolated arm symptoms or severe vertigo alone was experienced. There was a difference in blood pressure between the arms of at least 20 mm Hg in 88% of the patients. The treatment for 28 patients was creation of a carotid-subclavian bypass, for 6 the placement of a bypass graft from the ascending aorta to the subclavian or carotid artery or both, for a 3 a subclavian endarterectomy and for 4 vertebral angioplasty. There were no operative deaths, and 90% of the grafts were patent 1 to 72 months later. however, only 30 (73%) of the patients were asymptomatic and 9 (22%) had improved.
PMCID: PMC1705412  PMID: 7260799
24.  Thymic haemangioma presenting with a left innominate vein aneurysm: insight into the aetiology 
Thymic haemangiomas and innominate vein aneurysms are rare with only 7 and 19 previous cases, respectively, reported in the medical literature. The aetiology of an innominate vein aneurysm remains unclear and there is no previous report of tumour involvement. We present the case of a 27-year old male with concomitant mediastinal tumour and innominate vein aneurysm who underwent surgical treatment. The tumour intruded into the lower section of the innominate vein, thus causing aneurysmal dilation. Pathologically, the tumour was diagnosed as a thymic cavernous haemangioma involving the left innominate vein. This is the first case of a thymic haemangioma presenting with an innominate vein aneurysm, and suggests that tumours may be involved in the aetiology of innominate vein aneurysms.
PMCID: PMC3480609  PMID: 22859512
Innominate vein; Venous aneurysm; Thymic tumour; Haemangioma
25.  Coil Embolization for Intracranial Aneurysms 
Executive Summary
To determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of coil embolization compared with surgical clipping to treat intracranial aneurysms.
The Technology
Endovascular coil embolization is a percutaneous approach to treat an intracranial aneurysm from within the blood vessel without the need of a craniotomy. In this procedure, a microcatheter is inserted into the femoral artery near the groin and navigated to the site of the aneurysm. Small helical platinum coils are deployed through the microcatheter to fill the aneurysm, and prevent it from further expansion and rupture. Health Canada has approved numerous types of coils and coil delivery systems to treat intracranial aneurysms. The most favoured are controlled detachable coils. Coil embolization may be used with other adjunct endovascular devices such as stents and balloons.
Intracranial Aneurysms
Intracranial aneurysms are the dilation or ballooning of part of a blood vessel in the brain. Intracranial aneurysms range in size from small (<12 mm in diameter) to large (12–25 mm), and to giant (>25 mm). There are 3 main types of aneurysms. Fusiform aneurysms involve the entire circumference of the artery; saccular aneurysms have outpouchings; and dissecting aneurysms have tears in the arterial wall. Berry aneurysms are saccular aneurysms with well-defined necks.
Intracranial aneurysms may occur in any blood vessel of the brain; however, they are most commonly found at the branch points of large arteries that form the circle of Willis at the base of the brain. In 85% to 95% of patients, they are found in the anterior circulation. Aneurysms in the posterior circulation are less frequent, and are more difficult to treat surgically due to inaccessibility.
Most intracranial aneurysms are small and asymptomatic. Large aneurysms may have a mass effect, causing compression on the brain and cranial nerves and neurological deficits. When an intracranial aneurysm ruptures and bleeds, resulting in a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), the mortality rate can be 40% to 50%, with severe morbidity of 10% to 20%. The reported overall risk of rupture is 1.9% per year and is higher for women, cigarette smokers, and cocaine users, and in aneurysms that are symptomatic, greater than 10 mm in diameter, or located in the posterior circulation. If left untreated, there is a considerable risk of repeat hemorrhage in a ruptured aneurysm that results in increased mortality.
In Ontario, intracranial aneurysms occur in about 1% to 4% of the population, and the annual incidence of SAH is about 10 cases per 100,000 people. In 2004-2005, about 660 intracranial aneurysm repairs were performed in Ontario.
Treatment of Intracranial Aneurysms
Treatment of an unruptured aneurysm attempts to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing. The treatment of a ruptured intracranial aneurysm aims to prevent further hemorrhage. There are 3 approaches to treating an intracranial aneurysm.
Small, asymptomatic aneurysms less than 10 mm in diameter may be monitored without any intervention other than treatment for underlying risk factors such as hypertension.
Open surgical clipping, involves craniotomy, brain retraction, and placement of a silver clip across the neck of the aneurysm while a patient is under general anesthesia. This procedure is associated with surgical risks and neurological deficits.
Endovascular coil embolization, introduced in the 1990s, is the health technology under review.
Literature Review
The Medical Advisory Secretariat searched the International Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) Database and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews to identify relevant systematic reviews. OVID Medline, Medline In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, and Embase were searched for English-language journal articles that reported primary data on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness of treatments for intracranial aneurysms, obtained in a clinical setting or analyses of primary data maintained in registers or institutional databases. Internet searches of Medscape and manufacturers’ databases were conducted to identify product information and recent reports on trials that were unpublished but that were presented at international conferences. Four systematic reviews, 3 reports on 2 randomized controlled trials comparing coil embolization with surgical clipping of ruptured aneurysms, 30 observational studies, and 3 economic analysis reports were included in this review.
Safety and Effectiveness
Coil embolization appears to be a safe procedure. Complications associated with coil embolization ranged from 8.6% to 18.6% with a median of about 10.6%. Observational studies showed that coil embolization is associated with lower complication rates than surgical clipping (permanent complication 3-7% versus 10.9%; overall 23% versus 46% respectively, p=0.009). Common complications of coil embolization are thrombo-embolic events (2.5%–14.5%), perforation of aneurysm (2.3%–4.7%), parent artery obstruction (2%–3%), collapsed coils (8%), coil malposition (14.6%), and coil migration (0.5%–3%).
Randomized controlled trials showed that for ruptured intracranial aneurysms with SAH, suitable for both coil embolization and surgical clipping (mostly saccular aneurysms <10 mm in diameter located in the anterior circulation) in people with good clinical condition:Coil embolization resulted in a statistically significant 23.9% relative risk reduction and 7% absolute risk reduction in the composite rate of death and dependency compared to surgical clipping (modified Rankin score 3–6) at 1-year.
The advantage of coil embolization over surgical clipping varies widely with aneurysm location, but endovascular treatment seems beneficial for all sites.
There were less deaths in the first 7 years following coil embolization compared to surgical clipping (10.8% vs 13.7%). This survival benefit seemed to be consistent over time, and was statistically significant (log-rank p= 0.03).
Coil embolization is associated with less frequent MRI-detected superficial brain deficits and ischemic lesions at 1-year.
The 1- year rebleeding rate was 2.4% after coil embolization and 1% for surgical clipping. Confirmed rebleeding from the repaired aneurysm after the first year and up to year eight was low and not significantly different between coil embolization and surgical clipping (7 patients for coil embolization vs 2 patients for surgical clipping, log-rank p=0.22).
Observational studies showed that patients with SAH and good clinical grade had better 6-month outcomes and lower risk of symptomatic cerebral vasospasm after coil embolization compared to surgical clipping.
For unruptured intracranial aneurysms, there were no randomized controlled trials that compared coil embolization to surgical clipping. Large observational studies showed that:
The risk of rupture in unruptured aneurysms less than 10 mm in diameter is about 0.05% per year for patients with no pervious history of SAH from another aneurysm. The risk of rupture increases with history of SAH and as the diameter of the aneurysm reaches 10 mm or more.
Coil embolization reduced the composite rate of in hospital deaths and discharge to long-term or short-term care facilities compared to surgical clipping (Odds Ratio 2.2, 95% CI 1.6–3.1, p<0.001). The improvement in discharge disposition was highest in people older than 65 years.
In-hospital mortality rate following treatment of intracranial aneurysm ranged from 0.5% to 1.7% for coil embolization and from 2.1% to 3.5% for surgical clipping. The overall 1-year mortality rate was 3.1% for coil embolization and 2.3% for surgical clipping. One-year morbidity rate was 6.4% for coil embolization and 9.8% for surgical clipping. It is not clear whether these differences were statistically significant.
Coil embolization is associated with shorter hospital stay compared to surgical clipping.
For both ruptured and unruptured aneurysms, the outcome of coil embolization does not appear to be dependent on age, whereas surgical clipping has been shown to yield worse outcome for patients older than 64 years.
Angiographic Efficiency and Recurrences
The main drawback of coil embolization is its low angiographic efficiency. The percentage of complete aneurysm occlusion after coil embolization (27%–79%, median 55%) remains lower than that achieved with surgical clipping (82%–100%). However, about 90% of coiled aneurysms achieve near total occlusion or better. Incompletely coiled aneurysms have been shown to have higher aneurysm recurrence rates ranging from 7% to 39% for coil embolization compared to 2.9% for surgical clipping. Recurrence is defined as refilling of the neck, sac, or dome of a successfully treated aneurysm as shown on an angiogram. The long-term clinical significance of incomplete occlusion following coil embolization is unknown, but in one case series, 20% of patients had major recurrences, and 50% of these required further treatment.
Long-Term Outcomes
A large international randomized trial reported that the survival benefit from coil embolization was sustained for at least 7 years. The rebleeding rate between year 2 and year 8 following coil embolization was low and not significantly different from that of surgical clipping. However, high quality long-term angiographic evidence is lacking. Accordingly, there is uncertainty about long-term occlusion status, coil durability, and recurrence rates. While surgical clipping is associated with higher immediate procedural risks, its long-term effectiveness has been established.
Indications and Contraindications
Coil embolization offers treatment for people at increased risk for craniotomy, such as those over 65 years of age, with poor clinical status, or with comorbid conditions. The technology also makes it possible to treat surgical high-risk aneurysms.
Not all aneurysms are suitable for coil embolization. Suitability depends on the size, anatomy, and location of the aneurysm. Aneurysms more than 10 mm in diameter or with an aneurysm neck greater than or equal to 4 mm are less likely to achieve total occlusion. They are also more prone to aneurysm recurrences and to complications such as coil compaction or parent vessel occlusion. Aneurysms with a dome to neck ratio of less than 1 have been shown to have lower obliteration rates and poorer outcome following coil embolization. Furthermore, aneurysms in the middle cerebral artery bifurcation are less suitable for coil embolization. For some aneurysms, treatment may require the use of both coil embolization and surgical clipping or adjunctive technologies, such as stents and balloons, to obtain optimal results.
Information from 3 countries indicates that coil embolization is a rapidly diffusing technology. For example, it accounted for about 40% of aneurysm treatments in the United Kingdom.
In Ontario, coil embolization is an insured health service, with the same fee code and fee schedule as open surgical repair requiring craniotomy. Other costs associated with coil embolization are covered under hospitals’ global budgets. Utilization data showed that in 2004-2005, coil embolization accounted for about 38% (251 cases) of all intracranial aneurysm repairs in the province. With the 2005 publication of the positive long-term survival data from the International Subarachnoid Aneursym Trial, the pressure for diffusion will likely increase.
Economic Analysis
Recent economic studies show that treatment of unruptured intracranial aneurysms smaller than 10 mm in diameter in people with no previous history of SAH, either by coil embolization or surgical clipping, would not be effective or cost-effective. However, in patients with aneurysms that are greater than or equal to 10 mm or symptomatic, or in patients with a history of SAH, treatment appears to be cost-effective.
In Ontario, the average device cost of coil embolization per case was estimated to be about $7,500 higher than surgical clipping. Assuming that the total number of intracranial aneurysm repairs in Ontario increases to 750 in the fiscal year of 2007, and assuming that up to 60% (450 cases) of these will be repaired by coil embolization, the difference in device costs for the 450 cases (including a 15% recurrence rate) would be approximately $3.8 million. This figure does not include capital costs (e.g. $3 million for an angiosuite), additional human resources required, or costs of follow-up. The increase in expenditures associated with coil embolization may be offset partially, by shorter operating room times and hospitalization stays for endovascular repair of unruptured aneurysms; however, the impact of these cost savings is probably not likely to be greater than 25% of the total outlay since the majority of cases involve ruptured aneurysms. Furthermore, the recent growth in aneurysm repair has predominantly been in the area of coil embolization presumably for patients for whom surgical clipping would not be advised; therefore, no offset of surgical clipping costs could be applied in such cases. For ruptured aneurysms, downstream cost savings from endovascular repair are likely to be minimal even though the savings for individual cases may be substantial due to lower perioperative complications for endovascular aneurysm repair.
The two Guidance documents issued by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (UK) in 2005 support the use of coil embolization for both unruptured and ruptured (SAH) intracranial aneurysms, provided that procedures are in place for informed consent, audit, and clinical governance, and that the procedure is performed in specialist units with expertise in the endovascular treatment of intracranial aneurysms.
For people in good clinical condition following subarachnoid hemorrhage from an acute ruptured intracranial aneurysm suitable for either surgical clipping or endovascular repair, coil embolization results in improved independent survival in the first year and improved survival for up to seven years compared to surgical clipping. The rebleeding rate is low and not significantly different between the two procedures after the first year. However, there is uncertainty regarding the long-term occlusion status, durability of the stent graft, and long-term complications.
For people with unruptured aneurysms, level 4 evidence suggests that coil embolization may be associated with comparable or less mortality and morbidity, shorter hospital stay, and less need for discharge to short-term rehabilitation facilities. The greatest benefit was observed in people over 65 years of age. In these patients, the decision regarding treatment needs to be based on the assessment of the risk of rupture against the risk of the procedure, as well as the morphology of the aneurysm.
In people who require treatment for intracranial aneurysm, but for whom surgical clipping is too risky or not feasible, coil embolization provides survival benefits over surgical clipping, even though the outcomes may not be as favourable as in people in good clinical condition and with small aneurysms. The procedure may be considered under the following circumstances provided that the aneurysm is suitable for coil embolization:
Patients in poor/unstable clinical or neurological state
Patients at high risk for surgical repair (e.g. people>age 65 or with comorbidity), or
Aneurysm(s) with poor accessibility or visibility for surgical treatment due to their location (e.g. ophthalmic or basilar tip aneurysms)
Compared to small aneurysms with a narrow neck in the anterior circulation, large aneurysms (> 10 mm in diameter), aneurysms with a wide neck (>4mm in diameter), and aneurysms in the posterior circulation have lower occlusion rates and higher rate of hemorrhage when treated with coil embolization.
The extent of aneurysm obliteration after coil embolization remains lower than that achieved with surgical clipping. Aneurysm recurrences after successful coiling may require repeat treatment with endovascular or surgical procedures. Experts caution that long-term angiographic outcomes of coil embolization are unknown at this time. Informed consent for and long-term follow-up after coil embolization are recommended.
The decision to treat an intracranial aneurysm with surgical clipping or coil embolization needs to be made jointly by the neurosurgeon and neuro-intervention specialist, based on the clinical status of the patient, the size and morphology of the aneurysm, and the preference of the patient.
The performance of endovascular coil embolization should take place in centres with expertise in both neurosurgery and endovascular neuro-interventions, with adequate treatment volumes to maintain good outcomes. Distribution of the technology should also take into account that patients with SAH should be treated as soon as possible with minimal disruption.
PMCID: PMC3379525  PMID: 23074479

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