Single-stage reoperative repair of chronic type A aortic dissection by means of the arch-first technique

N T Kouchoukos, P Masetti, C K Rokkas, S F Murphy
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2001, 122 (3): 578-82

OBJECTIVE: Management of the enlarged, chronically dissected aorta after previous repair of acute aortic dissection or after a previous cardiac operation may present a formidable technical challenge. Marked enlargement of the proximal descending thoracic aorta precludes safe use of staged procedures, including the elephant trunk technique.

METHODS: Sixteen patients with chronic type A aortic dissection (mean age, 56 years) underwent resection of the ascending aorta, the aortic arch, and varying segments of the descending thoracic aorta. We used single-stage replacement, with perfusion of the aortic arch first to minimize the duration of brain ischemia, with a bilateral anterior thoracotomy (clamshell) incision. Eleven patients had undergone previous repair of acute type A dissection. Five patients had type A dissection after aortic valve replacement (2 patients) and coronary artery bypass (3 patients). Marked enlargement of the aorta distal to the left subclavian artery precluded a 2-stage repair. The mean interval between the initial and reoperative procedures was 62 months (range, 5-137 months).

RESULTS: There was 1 (6.2%; 70% confidence limits, 0.3%-24.7%) hospital death. Four patients required reoperation for bleeding. One patient required a right ventricular assist device that was successfully removed. Six patients required assisted ventilation for more than 72 hours, and 3 patients required a tracheostomy. All were successfully weaned from ventilatory support. No patient had a stroke or other adverse neurologic outcome.

CONCLUSION: The single-stage, arch-first replacement technique is a safe and effective procedure for patients who require extensive reoperations for chronic expanding type A dissection.

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