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1.  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
2.  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
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.  Outcomes in the current surgical era following operative repair of acute Type A aortic dissection in the elderly: a single-institutional experience 
We reviewed our single-centre experience with emergent operative repair of Stanford Type A aortic dissections, with particular attention to outcomes in the elderly.
Consecutive adult patients undergoing emergent operative repair of acute Type A aortic dissections between February 2004 and December 2011 at a single institution were identified. Patients were stratified into elderly (≥70 years) and control cohorts (<70 years). Kaplan–Meier analysis was used to evaluate survival.
A total of 117 patients undergoing emergent repair of Type A aortic dissection were identified during the study period, including 31 (26.5%) elderly and 86 (73.5%) control patients. The mean age in the elderly cohort was 78.0 ± 4.7 years, with 41.9% (13 of 31) being 80 years or older. The elderly and control groups were well matched with regard to preoperative comorbidities (each P>0.05) and the presence of malperfusion at presentation (elderly: 19.4 vs controls: 27.9%, P = 0.35). The most common site of tear involved the proximal ascending aorta (elderly: 83.9 vs controls: 84.9%), with fewer cases affecting the aortic arch (12.9 vs 14.0%; P = 0.75). Operative data, including cardiopulmonary bypass and aortic cross-clamp time, concomitant aortic valve procedures and arch replacement were also similar between cohorts. Fewer elderly patients underwent hypothermic circulatory arrest (67.7 vs 90.7%, P = 0.002). Overall survival to discharge was 87.2% (n = 102), with no difference in the elderly (83.9%; n = 26) vs controls (88.4%; n = 76; P = 0.52). The 30-day (elderly: 82.8 vs controls: 86.2%), 90-day (elderly: 79.0 vs controls: 84.8%) and 1-year (elderly: 75.4 vs controls: 84.8%) survivals were also comparable.
Excellent operative outcomes can be achieved in elderly patients undergoing emergent repair of Type A aortic dissections. Advanced patient age should therefore not serve as an absolute contraindication to operative repair in this high-risk cohort.
PMCID: PMC3686405  PMID: 23563053
Aortic dissection; Elderly; Great vessels
5.  Hybrid debranching and TEVAR of the aortic arch off-pump, in re-do patients with complicated chronic type-A aortic dissections: a critical report 
Patients suffering from acute type A aortic dissection undergo replacement of the ascending aorta, the proximal hemiarch or complete aortic arch, depending on the extent of the individual pathology. In a subset of these treated patients, secondary pathologies of the distal anastomosis or the remaining distal part of the aorta occur. The treatment of these pathologies is challenging, requiring major surgical re-do procedures with aortic arch replacement under extracorporeal circulation and hypothermic circulatory arrest.
We report our experience of five patients with complex aortic pathologies after previous aortic surgery treated with a single stage re-do hybrid procedure, consisting of bypass grafting of the supraaortic branches off-pump, stent graft placement for endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) and surgical debranching of the aortic arch.
In all patients the surgical vascular grafts and stent grafts were deployed successfully, there were no intraoperative deaths. Four out of five patients were discharged from hospital in good clinical condition. One patient died postoperatively due to cardiac tamponade. In one patient a type I endoleak persisted leading to occlusion of a bypass branch requiring surgical revision at one year after debranching.
We discuss the prerequisites, all steps and potential pitfalls of this hybrid aortic arch replacement. The current procedure avoids cardiopulmonary bypass and circulatory arrest, which may benefit early patient outcome; however, patient and device selection plays a key role for immediate success and midterm outcomes. In addition, precise procedural planning and development of customized stents may help to develop this procedure into a true alternative for conventional aortic arch replacement.
PMCID: PMC3846913  PMID: 24007462
Aortic debranching; Off-pump surgery; TEVAR; Aortic dissection
6.  Is total debranching a safe procedure for extensive aortic-arch disease? A single experience of 27 cases 
Thoracic, arch, and proximal descending thoracic aorta diseases are still considered an enormous challenge. The hybrid approach developed in recent years (supra-aortic trunks debranching and thoracic endovascular repair aortic repair; TEVAR) may improve the morbidity and mortality of the population at risk. The aim of this study was to analyze retrospectively our experience in the hybrid treatment of aortic-arch aneurysms and dissections.
We carried out a retrospective review of 27 patients who required a surgical debranching of the supra-aortic trunks and a TEVAR in the management of the aortic arch and proximal descending thoracic aortic disease. The aortic lesions included 18 degenerative arch-aortic aneurysms, four complicated aortic dissections, two subclavian artery aneurysms, and three penetrating atherosclerotic ulcers. Technical success was achieved in all patients.
The 30-day mortality rate was 11.1% (3/27). Mean follow-up was 16.7 months (range, 1–56), and the survival rate was 77.8%. The endoleaks’ rate was 3.7% (1/27), due to a stent-graft migration.
Hybrid approaches may represent an alternative option in the treatment of complex aortic lesions involving the arch and the proximal descending thoracic aorta in high-risk patients and emergency cases. However, the promising early results need to be confirmed by longer follow-up and larger comparative series.
PMCID: PMC3241089  PMID: 21820909
Aortic arch; Stent graft; Hybrid procedure; Aneurysm; Endovascular treatment
7.  Surgical Treatment of Patients Enrolled in the National Registry of Genetically Triggered Thoracic Aortic Conditions (GenTAC) 
The Annals of thoracic surgery  2009;88(3):781-788.
Genetic disorders are an important cause of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs) in young patients. Despite advances in the treatment of genetically triggered TAAs, the optimal syndrome-specific treatment approach remains undefined. We used data from the NIH-funded, multicenter National Registry of Genetically Triggered Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Cardiovascular Conditions (GenTAC) to characterize the contemporary surgical treatment of patients with genetically triggered TAAs.
GenTAC’s aim is to collect longitudinal clinical data and banked biospecimens from 2800 patients with genetically triggered TAAs. We analyzed data from all patients enrolled in GenTAC to date whose clinical data were available (n=606; mean age, 37.5 years).
The patients’ primary diagnoses included Marfan syndrome (35.8%), bicuspid aortic valve with aneurysm (29.2%), and familial TAAs and dissections (10.7%). More than half of patients (56.4%) had undergone at least 1 operation; the most common indications were aneurysm (85.7%), valve dysfunction (65.8%), and dissection (25.4%). Surgical procedures included replacement of the aortic root (50.6%), ascending aorta (64.8%), aortic arch (27.9%), and descending or thoracoabdominal aorta (12.4%). Syndrome-specific differences in age, indications for surgery, and procedure type were identified.
Patients with genetically transmitted TAAs evaluated in tertiary care centers frequently undergo surgery. Aneurysm repairs most commonly involve the aortic root and ascending aorta; distal repairs are less common. Like TAAs themselves, complications of TAAs, including dissection and aortic valve dysfunction, are important indications for surgery. Future studies will focus on syndrome- and gene-specific phenotypes, biomarkers, treatments, and outcomes to improve the treatment of patients with TAAs.
PMCID: PMC3042876  PMID: 19699898
Aneurysm; aortic operation; genetics
8.  Hybrid Strategy for Residual Arch and Thoracic Aortic Dissection following Acute Type A Aortic Dissection Repair 
Progressive dilatation of the false lumen in the arch and descending aorta has been encountered in one-third of survivors as a late sequelae following repair of ascending aortic dissection. Conventional treatment for the same requiring cardiopulmonary bypass and deep hypothermic circulatory arrest is associated with high morbidity and mortality especially in the elderly cohort of patients. Herein we report a case of symptomatic progressive aneurysmal dilatation of residual arch and descending thoracic aortic dissection following repair of type A aortic dissection, successfully treated by total arch debranching and ascending aortic prosthesis to bicarotid and left subclavian bypass followed by staged retrograde aortic stent-graft deployment. This case report with relevant review of the literature highlights this clinical entity and the present evidence on its appropriate management strategies. Close surveillance is mandatory following surgical repair of type A aortic dissection and hybrid endovascular procedures seem to be the most dependable modality for salvage of patients detected to have progression of residual arch dissection.
PMCID: PMC3971851  PMID: 24716088
9.  Endovascular repair of thoracic aortic aneurysm 
A thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is a potentially life-threatening condition with structural weakness of the aortic wall, which can progress to arterial dilatation and rupture. Today, both an increasing awareness of vascular disease and the access to tomographic imaging facilitate the diagnosis of TAA even in an asymptomatic stage. The risk of rupture for untreated aneurysms beyond a diameter of 5.6 cm ranges from 46% to 74% and the two-year mortality rate is greater than 70%, with most deaths resulting from rupture. Treatment options include surgical and non-surgical repair to prevent aneurysm enlargement and rupture. While most cases of ascending aortic involvement are subject to surgical repair (partially with valve-preserving techniques), aneurysm of the distal arch and descending thoracic aorta are amenable to emerging endovascular techniques as an alternative to classic open repair or to a hybrid approach (combining debranching surgery with stent grafting) in an attempt to improve outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3298329  PMID: 22419919
stent graft; thoracic aortic aneurysm; thoracic aortic dissection; Crawford
10.  Midterm results with thoracic endovascular aortic repair for chronic type B aortic dissection with associated aneurysm 
Thoracic endovascular aortic repair for chronic type B aortic dissection with associated descending thoracic aneurysm remains controversial. Concerns include potential ischemic complications due to branch vessel origin from the chronic false lumen and continued retrograde false lumen/aneurysm sac pressurization via fenestrations distal to implanted endografts. The present study examines midterm results with thoracic endovascular aortic repair for chronic (>2 weeks) type B aortic dissection with associated aneurysm to better understand the potential role of thoracic endovascular aortic repair for this condition.
Between March 2005 and December 2009, 51 thoracic endovascular aortic repair procedures were performed at a single institution for management of chronic type B dissection. The indication for thoracic endovascular aortic repair was aneurysm in all cases. A subset of 7 patients (14%) underwent placement of the EndoSure wireless pressure measurement system (CardioMEMS, Inc, Atlanta, Ga) in the false lumen adjacent to the primary tear for monitoring aneurysm sac/false lumen pulse pressure after thoracic endovascular aortic repair.
Mean patient age was 57 ± 12 years (range, 30–82 years); 14 patients (28%) were female. Mean aortic diameter was 6.2 ± 1.4 cm. There were no in-hospital/30-day deaths, strokes, or permanent paraplegia/paresis. There were no complications related to compromise of downstream branch vessels arising from the false lumen. Two patients (3.9%) who had preexisting ascending aortic dilation had retrograde acute type A aortic dissection; both were repaired successfully. Median postoperative length of stay was 4 days. Mean follow-up is 27.0 ± 16.5 months (range, 2–60 months). Actuarial overall survival is 77.7%at 60 months with an actuarial aorta-specific survival of 98%over this same time period. Actuarial freedom from reintervention is 77.3%at 60 months. All patients with the EndoSure wireless pressure measurement system exhibited a decrease in aneurysm sac/false lumen pulse pressure indicating a depressurized false lumen. The aneurysm sac/false lumen pulse pressure ratio decreased from 52% ± 27% at the predischarge measurement to 14% ± 5% at the latest follow-up reading (P = .029).
Thoracic endovascular aortic repair for chronic type B dissection with associated aneurysm is safe and effective at midterm follow-up. Aneurysm sac/false lumen pulse pressure measurements demonstrate a significant reduction in false lumen endotension, thus ruling out clinically significant persistent retrograde false lumen perfusion and provide proof of concept for a thoracic endovascular aortic repair-based approach. Longer-term follow-up is needed to determine the durability of thoracic endovascular aortic repair for this aortic pathology.
PMCID: PMC3688644  PMID: 21241855
11.  One-stage repair of extensive aortic aneurysms: mid-term results with total or subtotal aortic replacement 
To retrospectively analyse the mid-term clinical results of one-stage repair of extensive aortic aneurysms with total or subtotal aortic replacement.
From February 2004 to February 2011, 21 patients with extensive aortic aneurysm underwent one-stage total or subtotal aortic replacement for aortic dissection (95.23%) or aortic aneurysms. Operations were performed under circulatory arrest with profound hypothermia. Patients were opened with a mid-sternotomy and a thoraco-abdominal incision. Extracorporeal circulation was instituted as usual. During cooling, the ascending aorta or aortic root was replaced. At the nasopharyngeal temperature of 20°C, the aortic arch was replaced with selective antegrade cerebral perfusion. Staged aortic occlusions allowed for replacement of the descending thoracic and abdominal aorta. T6 to T12 intercostal arteries and L1,L2 lumbar arteries were formed to a neo-intercostal artery in place and were connected to an 8-mm branch for maintaining spinal cord blood perfusion. Visceral arteries were joined into a patch and anastomosed to the end of the main graft.
The early mortality was 4.8% (1 of 21); 1 patient died due to renal failure and multiple organ failure. No patient had spinal cord deficits postoperatively. Two patients had postoperative stroke at Day 5 and 7, respectively. Twenty patients were all alive with good life status during the follow-up period ranging from 18 to 84 months postoperatively. One patient was reoperated with aortic valve replacement because of massive valve insufficiency after 2 years. During the follow-up period, reconstructed intercostal arteries were clogged in 3 patients and dilatated in 2 patients with Marfan syndrome.
One-stage repair of extensive aortic aneurysms with total or subtotal aortic replacement is safe and effective. It is feasible with acceptable surgical risks and satisfactory results. It can eliminate the risk of remnant aortic aneurysm rupture in staged total aortic replacement and has satisfactory mid-term results.
PMCID: PMC3930207  PMID: 24263579
Extensive aortic aneurysms; One-stage repair; Total aortic replacement
12.  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
13.  Aortic arch/elephant trunk procedure with SiennaTM graft and endovascular stenting of thoraco-abdominal aorta for treatment of complex chronic dissection 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2013;2(3):358-361.
Aneurismal dilatation of the remaining thoracic aorta after ascending aortic interposition grafting for type ‘A’ aortic dissection is not uncommon. For such complex cases, one treatment option is total arch replacement and elephant trunk procedure with the SiennaTM collared graft (Vascutek, Inchinnan, UK) technique followed by a staged thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR). The video illustrates our technique in a 56-year-old man with an extensive aortic arch and descending thoracic aortic dissecting aneurysm. For the ‘open’ procedure femoral arterial and venous cannulation was used along with systemic cooling and circulatory arrest at 22 °C. Upon circulatory arrest, the aortic arch was incised and antegrade cerebral perfusion achieved via selective cannulation to the right brachiocephalic and left common carotid artery, keeping flow rates at 10-15 mL/kg/min and perfusion pressure at 50-60 mmHg. Arch replacement with an elephant trunk component was then performed and after completion of the distal aortic anastomosis antegrade perfusion via a side-arm in the graft was started and the operation completed using a variation of the ‘sequential’ clamping technique to maximize cerebral perfusion. The second endovascular stage was performed two weeks after discharge. Two covered stents were landing from the elephant trunk to the distal descending thoracic aorta, to secure the distal landing a bare stent of was placed to cover the aorta just distal to the origin of the celiac axis. The left subclavian artery was embolised with fibre coils. Post TEVAR angiogram showed no endoleak Although re-operative total arch replacement and elephant trunk procedure and subsequent TEVAR remained a challenging procedure, we believe excellent surgical outcome can be achieved with carefully planned operative strategy.
PMCID: PMC3741863  PMID: 23977606
TEVAR; elephant trunk; aortic dissection; arch replacement
14.  Type I and Type II hybrid aortic arch replacement: postoperative and mid-term outcome analysis 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2013;2(3):280-287.
Hybrid aortic arch replacement has emerged as a safe treatment modality for arch aneurysms, especially in patients of old age and with greater comorbid burden. We assessed our institutional outcomes in patients undergoing Types I and II hybrid aortic arch replacement.
From 2005 to 2012, 685 patients underwent thoracic endovascular repair (TEVAR), of whom 104 had hybrid arch repair (open + endovascular approach). 47 of these patients had treatment for aortic arch aneurysm ± proximal ascending aortic aneurysm. The hybrid repair entailed aortic arch vessel debranching and concomitant/delayed antegrade ± retrograde TEVAR stent grafting of the arch. Type III patients were excluded from the analysis. Data was prospectively maintained.
28 patients had Type I repair, 8 had Type II repair, and 11 had Type III repair. Mean age was 71±8 years. Primary aortic pathology was aneurysm (81%), followed by chronic arch dissection (11%). 14% of patients required reoperative cardiac surgery. Stent graft deployment rate was 100% after arch vessel debranching. Postoperative endoleak rate was zero. Average cardiopulmonary bypass time was 215±64 minutes, with crossclamp time of 70±55 minutes, and circulatory arrest time of 50±17 minutes. Paraplegia rate was 5.5% (n=2), with stroke rate of 8% (n=3) and renal failure rate of 3% (n=1) requiring hemodialysis. In-hospital mortality was 8% (n=3). Mean length of stay was 17.2±14 days.
Median follow-up was 30±21 months. Freedom from all-cause mortality was 71%, 60%, and 48% at 1, 3, and 5 years respectively. Aortic reoperation rate was 2.7% (n=1). No patient had Type I or III endoleak at follow-up. Freedom from mortality was improved in cases performed more recently (July 2008 to 2012) than during our early experience (2005 to June 2008) (81% versus 44% at 3 years, P=0.05).
Hybrid aortic arch replacement can be performed with good postoperative and midterm results in a cohort of old patients with significant comorbidity. With greater experience, early and midterm outcomes continue to improve. The hybrid arch technique may represent a technical advancement in the field of aortic arch surgery.
PMCID: PMC3741847  PMID: 23977595
Hybrid aortic arch replacement; thoracic endovascular repair (TEVAR); postoperative outcome; midterm outcome
15.  Stanford type A aortic dissection. A new surgical approach. 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  1998;25(1):65-67.
We describe a new surgical technique adopted for the repair of Stanford type A aortic dissection. In order to minimize the risk of malperfusion caused by retrograde flow during cardiopulmonary bypass, we avoid femoral artery cannulation. On the hypothesis that it is best not to interfere with the hemodynamics of the dissection, we cannulate the dissected ascending aorta, in either the true or false lumen. We here report 2 cases of successful surgical treatment of Stanford type A aortic dissection. In both cases, the false lumen was cannulated under deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, without clamping the aorta. While the patient was cooling, a 10-mm GORE-TEX side arm was sutured to a Dacron graft prosthesis. Repair of the aortic arch was carried out 1st. The aortic cannula was inserted into the GORE-TEX side arm, the tubular prosthesis was cross-clamped, and cardiopulmonary bypass was reinstituted. After this, the aortic bulb was repaired as usual and the tubular prosthesis was sutured to the bulb. No postoperative cerebral complication occurred. Our experience must be confirmed by more cases and a longer follow up.
PMCID: PMC325504  PMID: 9566066
16.  Best surgical option for arch extension of type B aortic dissection: the open approach 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2014;3(4):406-412.
Arch extension of aortic dissection (AD) is reported to occur in 4-25% of patients presenting with acute type B AD. The DeBakey and Stanford classifications do not specifically account for this subset, however, recent studies have demonstrated that the prognosis of patients with arch extension in acute type B AD is virtually identical to that of others with type B AD. In this sense, it seems reasonable to extend the general management principles that are applied to classic acute type B AD even to patients with arch extension. This may be because even in patients with arch extension, most complications occur at locations distal to the arch, and therefore treatment of these patients is similar to that of complicated type B AD, namely thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR). Conversely, 10% of patients with acute type B AD and arch extension develop complications that are directly related to the arch pathology. This clinical scenario generally necessitates surgical arch repair through a sternotomy approach. The frozen elephant trunk technique combined with arch repair is a very reasonable option to treat this unique clinical entity that involves relatively distal locations of the aortic diseases. Combined arch and descending aorta replacement through thoracotomy is an alternative option particularly when the anatomical features of the target lesions are not suitable for a sternotomy approach or TEVAR. Nonetheless, the reported mortality associated with this approach has been exceedingly high. Hybrid arch repair is another consideration in treating these patients to reduce the treatment-related mortality and morbidity, especially when the arch pathology is limited to the distal part. Nevertheless, the safety and efficacy of this procedure in cases with more extensive arch involvement needs to be assessed in further studies in comparison with other treatment modalities.
PMCID: PMC4128934  PMID: 25133105
Type B aortic dissection (AD); surgery; aortic arch; endovascular stent grafting
17.  Individualized Thoracic Aortic Replacement for the Aortopathy of Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease 
Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) disease is associated with an aortopathy resulting in aneurysmal dilatation spanning the root, ascending, and arch segments. No large series of proximal aortic replacement in this population have been reported. The purpose of this study was to report contemporary surgical outcomes for proximal aortic replacement in BAV disease and to examine relationships between valve morphology, valve pathophysiology, and pathology of the thoracic aorta.
Between 9/2005–12/2009, 100 consecutive patients with BAV and proximal aortic enlargement underwent aortic replacement at a single referral institution. Mean patient age was 54+13 years (range 29–80); 16% had undergone prior aortic valve replacement. Aortic repair was individually tailored to treat aortic valve and thoracic aortic pathology and included supracoronary ascending aortic (AA) replacement (n=17), aortic valve replacement with separate supracoronary AA replacement (n=39), aortic root replacement (n=42), and valve-sparing root replacement (n=2). Concomitant arch replacement was performed in 82% (n= 80 hemi-arch, n=2 full arch). Other concomitant cardiac procedures were performed in 28%.
30 day/in-hospital rates of death and stroke were both 1%. Predominant aortic valve pathophysiology was aortic stenosis (AS; 33%), aortic insufficiency (AI; 29%), mixed AS/AI (17%), normally functioning BAV (17%), and unknown (4%). Valve morphology included Sievers Type I, R/L (75%), Type I, R/N (9%), Type I, L/N (2%), Type 0 (7%), and Type II (7%). BAV patients with predominantly AI had more frequent root dilatation (62%) than BAV patients with either AS (30%) or normal valve function (35%). There were no significant differences in maximal thoracic aortic diameters between groups based on BAV morphology. At a mean follow-up of 16 months, there have been no late deaths or valve related complications.
Proximal aortic replacement in patients with BAV can be performed with low rates of mortality and morbidity. The pathologic anatomy of the thoracic aorta was not predicted by aortic valve morphology, although dilation of the aortic root was most common in BAV patients with predominant AI pathophysiology. These findings convey the safety and feasibility of treating concomitant aortopathy, including arch replacement as needed, and may help tailor the specific operation needed to patient pathology.
PMCID: PMC3688638  PMID: 21863650
Aortic arch; Aortic dissection; Aortic operation; Aortic root; Aortic valve replacement
18.  Use of the retrograde "pull-through" technique. 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  1997;24(2):114-117.
A 50-year-old man, who 9 months earlier had undergone emergency operation for acute type I aortic dissection, was readmitted to our hospital with the diagnosis of an enlarging aneurysm of the false lumen involving the transverse arch and the proximal third of the descending thoracic aorta, due principally to redissection at the distal suture line of the ascending aortic graft. Replacement of the aortic arch and proximal descending thoracic aorta was performed by using the retrograde "pull-through" technique with hypothermic circulatory arrest and retrograde cerebral perfusion. Although circulatory arrest lasted 110 minutes, the patient was extubated on the 2nd postoperative day and had no central or peripheral neurologic damage. Mild, transitory renal dysfunction was observed in the 1st postoperative week, and the patient was discharged on the 18th postoperative day. He is asymtomatic at 15 postoperative months. Deep hypothermia and retrograde cerebral perfusion proved effective despite prolonged circulatory arrest. The retrograde "pull-through" technique is an effective method of replacing the entire thoracic aorta and should probably be considered for single-stage repair of acute type I aortic dissection with multiple intimal tears.
PMCID: PMC325414  PMID: 9205985
19.  Hybrid Endovascular and Off-Pump Open Surgical Treatment for Synchronous Aneurysms of the Aortic Arch, Brachiocephalic Trunk, and Abdominal Aorta 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2004;31(3):283-287.
A 71-year-old patient was admitted for synchronous aneurysms of the aortic arch, brachiocephalic trunk, and juxtarenal abdominal aorta involving the iliac arteries. The patient first underwent open surgical repair of the juxtarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm by means of aorto-bifemoral bypass. Three months later, he underwent off-pump surgical repair of the aneurysm of the brachiocephalic trunk and bypass grafting from the ascending aorta to the brachiocephalic trunk and the left common carotid artery, followed by successful exclusion of the aneurysm of the aortic arch by deployment of a Zenith TX1 custom-made endograft, inserted through a limb of the aorto-bifemoral graft.
Combined endovascular and open surgical treatment is an appealing new alternative to open surgical repair for complex aortic diseases. Debranching of the aortic arch enables endovascular grafting in this area, thereby avoiding cardiopulmonary bypass and circulatory arrest. Staged and simultaneous procedures should be considered for the treatment of complex aortic diseases even in poor-risk patients; however, due to the investigative characteristics of these procedures, patient selection and postoperative follow-up should be carried out with utmost attention.
PMCID: PMC521773  PMID: 15562851
Aortic aneurysm, abdominal/surgery; aortic aneurysm, thoracic/surgery; aortic diseases/therapy; blood vessel prosthesis implantation/methods; brachiocephalic trunk; carotid arteries; stents; vascular surgical procedures/methods
20.  Type II arch hybrid debranching procedure 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2013;2(3):378-386.
Management of aortic arch aneurysm and dissection continues to evolve as endovascular options play an increasing role in treating thoracic aortopathies. Although conventional open treatment of aortic arch disease with total arch replacement still remains the gold standard, in patients with old age and/or high comorbid disease index, there is significant associated morbidity and mortality. The hybrid arch procedure, which aims to minimize cardiopulmonary bypass and circulatory arrest times, is a particularly appealing surgical option in this cohort of patients. The hybrid arch concept essentially entails three main principles: (I) open debranching of the great vessels; (II) creation of proper proximal (zone 0 landing) and distal landing zones, and; (III) concomitant or delayed endovascular stent grafting of the aortic arch. The classification scheme for hybrid arch debranching procedures is based on the extent of proximal and distal landing zone reconstruction required, and thus the need and extent of cardiopulmonary bypass and circulatory arrest management strategies to be employed. In this illustrated article, we describe the details of the type II hybrid arch debranching procedure, where the ascending aorta and aortic arch pathology is typically treated by reconstruction of ascending aorta ﹢ arch vessel debranching, with concomitant antegrade stent grafting of the aortic arch.
PMCID: PMC3741848  PMID: 23977611
Hybrid arch repair; aortic aneurysm; debranching procedure; thoracic aortic endovascular stent grafting
21.  Endovascular treatment of descending thoracic aneurysms 
Current strategies for repair of descending thoracic aortic aneurysms consist of open repair with surgical graft replacement or thoracic endovascular aortic repair. We review and update our overall experience in aortic thoracic diseases and specifically analyzed our outcomes with thoracic endovascular aortic repair in patients with descending thoracic aortic aneurysms.
From 1993 to present a total of 1144 patients were treated in our Center for pathology involving the thoracic aorta. Since 1998, 322 patients underwent thoracic endovascular aortic repair, and among this group, in 188 cases the descending aorta was involved. In 74% of patients treated for a descending thoracic aortic lesion, a degenerative aneurysm was observed.
In patients with descending thoracic aortic aneurysms receiving thoracic endovascular aortic repair, our technical success rate, i.e. deployment of endograft with complete exclusion of the lesion/minimal endoleak, was 99.5% (one case required emergent open conversion) with a perioperative mortality of 2.6% (five patients). The rate of spinal cord ischemia, manifesting either as paraplegia or paraparesis, was 4.7%. Delayed onset spinal cord ischemia ameliorated with adequate arterial pressure and cerebrospinal fluid drainage.
Our experience of selected patients undergoing thoracic endovascular aortic repair of descending thoracic aorta aneurysms is satisfactory with very low mortality and morbidity. A large use of thoracic endovascular aortic repair is foreseen in the next future.
PMCID: PMC3484596  PMID: 23439690
thoracic aortic aneurysm; endovascular aortic repair; aortic endoprostheses; thoracic aortic aneurysms; type B aortic dissection
22.  Overall Essen’s experience with the E-vita open hybrid stent graft system and evolution of the surgical technique 
Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery  2013;2(5):612-620.
The hybrid stent graft prosthesis E-vita open was designed and introduced by us in 2005 to avoid a two-stage surgical approach in the surgical treatment of complex thoracic aortic disease. Experience in ascending aortic and arch replacement with simultaneous stent grafting of the descending aorta was accumulated over the past 8 years. Facilitation of surgical technique by moving the distal suture line from Zone 3 into Zone 2 took place in 2009. We report our mid-term single-center experience comparing both surgical periods.
Between January 2005 and July 2013 a total of 132 patients (mean age 59±11 years) underwent one stage surgery for acute (AAD, n=74), chronic aortic dissection (CAD, n=35) or an extensive thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA, n=23). Patients were separated in two groups according to distal anastomosis level in Zone 2 (Z2, 41/132) and Zone 3 (Z3, 91/132). Outcome, ischemic and operative times as well as adverse events were monitored during follow up.
Overall in-hospital mortality was 13% (17/132) without difference between the groups. However, Zone 2 anastomosis resulted in reduction of cardioplegic arrest (117±39 vs. 147±35 minutes; P<0.001), selective cerebral perfusion (52±15 vs. 68±18 minutes; P<0.001) and visceral ischemic time (51±19 vs. 72±23 minutes; P<0.001). The incidence of postoperative temporary hemodialysis decreased from 40% to 20% in Z2 (P=0.028), postoperative re-exploration rate from 15% to 2% (P=0.037). No difference was found in dissection with complete false lumen thrombosis in 83% (90/109) within 10 days, as well as in TAA, where 100% aneurysm exclusion was observed. Three-year survival, freedom from thoracoabdominal aortic surgery and endovascular repair was 93%, 88%, 88%, respectively. Overall 5-year survival was 76% in AAD, 85% in CAD and 79% in TAA patients.
The dimension of surgery could be successfully reduced, indicated by significantly shortened ischemic times and postoperative complications. Durable one-stage repair of complex thoracic aortic disease could be achieved in the majority of cases with acceptable mortality. Distal reintervention is infrequent but associated with low risk when indicated.
PMCID: PMC3791188  PMID: 24109569
Aortic arch; aortic dissection; aortic aneurysm
23.  Retrograde Ascending Aortic Dissection as an Early Complication of Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair 
Journal of vascular surgery  2012;55(5):1255-1262.
Retrograde ascending aortic dissection (rAAD) is a potential complication of thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) yet little data exists regarding its occurrence. This study examines the incidence, etiology, and outcome of this event.
A prospective institutional database was used to identify cases of acute rAAD following TEVAR from a cohort of 309 consecutive procedures from 3/2005 (date of initial FDA approval) to 9/2010. The database was analyzed for the complication of rAAD as well as relevant patient and operative variables.
The incidence of rAAD was 1.9% (n=6/309); all cases occurred with proximal landing zone in the ascending aorta and/or arch (zones 0–2). All were identified in the perioperative period (range 0–6 days) with 33% (2/6) 30 day/in-hospital mortality. 83% (5/6) underwent emergent repair; 1 patient died without repair. rAAD patients were similar to the non-rAAD group (n=303) across pertinent variables including age, sex, race, and device size (all P>0.1). rAAD incidence by aortic pathology was: 1.0% (2/200) for aneurysm, 4.4% (4/91) for dissection, and 0% (0/18) for transection; p=0.08. rAAD incidence by device was: TAG (Gore) 1.0%, n=2/205; Talent (Medtronic) 4.7%, n=2/43; and Zenith TX2 (Cook) 3.6%, n=2/55. rAAD incidence was observed to be higher among patients with an ascending aortic diameter ≥4.0 cm (4.8% vs. 0.9% for ascending diameter < 4.0 cm), p=0.047. Incidence was also higher with proximal landing zone in native ascending aorta (zone 0) 6.9% (2/29) vs. 1.4% for all others (4/280), p=0.101. For patients with dissection pathology and an ascending aortic diameter ≥4.0 cm, 11% (3/28) suffered rAAD; with the combination of native ascending aorta (zone 0) landing zone measuring ≥4.0 cm the incidence was 25% (2/8). Definitive diagnosis was by CTA (n=1), intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) (n=3), intraoperative arteriography (n=1), or postmortem autopsy (n=1).
rAAD is a lethal early complication of TEVAR, which may be more common when treating dissection, with devices utilizing proximal bare springs or barbs for fixation, with native zone 0 proximal landing zone, and with ascending aortic diameter ≥ 4 cm. Combinations of these risk factors may be particularly high risk. Intraoperative imaging assessment of the ascending aorta should be conducted following TEVAR to avoid under-recognition. National database reporting of this complication is needed to ensure safety and proper application of emerging TEVAR technology.
PMCID: PMC3699184  PMID: 22265798
24.  Combined Open and Endovascular Repair for Aortic Arch Pathology 
Korean Circulation Journal  2010;40(8):399-404.
Background and Objectives
We describe our experience with combined open and endovascular repair in patients who have aortic arch pathology.
Subjects and Methods
This study is a retrospective analysis of 7 patients who underwent combined open and endovascular repair for aortic arch pathology. Medical records and radiographic information were reviewed.
A total of 7 consecutive patients (5 men, 71.4%) underwent thoracic stent graft implantation. The mean age was 59.9±16.7 years. The indication for endovascular repair was aneurysmal degeneration in 5 patients, and rupture or impending rupture in 2 patients. In all 7 cases, supra-aortic transposition of the great vessels was performed successfully. Stent graft implantation was achieved in all cases. Surgical exposure of the access vessel was necessary in 2 patients. A total of 9 stent grafts were implanted (3 stent grafts in one patient). The Seal thoracic and the Valiant endovascular stent graft were implanted in 6 patients and 1 patient, respectively. There were no post-procedure deaths or neurologic complications. In 2 patients, bleeding and injury of access vessel were noted after the procedure. Postoperative endoleak was noted in 1 patient. One patient died at 10 months after the procedure due to a newly developed ascending aortic dissection. No patients required secondary intervention during the follow-up period. The aortic diameter decreased in 4 patients. In 3 patients, including 1 patient with endoleak, there was no change in aortic diameter.
Our experience suggests that combined open and endovascular repair for aortic arch pathology is safe and effective, with few complications.
PMCID: PMC2933465  PMID: 20830254
Prostheses and implants; Aortic disease; Aortic aneurysm
25.  The Modified Chimney Technique With a Thoracic Aortic Stent Graft to Preserve the Blood Flow of the Left Common Carotid Artery for Treating Descending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection 
Korean Circulation Journal  2012;42(5):360-365.
While thoracic endovascular aortic repair is an effective treatment option for descending thoracic aorta pathology, it does have limitations. The main limitation is related to the anatomical difficulties when disease involves the aortic arch. A fenestrated, branched aortic stent graft and hybrid operation has been introduced to overcome this limitation, but it is a custom-made device and is time consuming to manufacture. Furthermore, these devices cannot be used in an emergency setting. We report two patients with massive descending thoracic aortic aneurysm and ruptured aortic dissection very near the aortic arch who underwent a procedure which we named the modified chimney technique. The modified chimney technique can be used as a treatment option in such an emergency situation or as a rescue procedure when aortic pathology is involved near the supra-aortic vessels.
PMCID: PMC3369971  PMID: 22701139
Stents; Aortic rupture; Aortic aneurysm

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