Intentional coverage of the left subclavian artery during endovascular stent graft repair for thoracic aortic disease

R Caronno, G Piffaretti, M Tozzi, C Lomazzi, N Rivolta, P Castelli
Surgical Endoscopy 2006, 20 (6): 915-8

BACKGROUND: Surgical revascularization of the left subclavian artery (LSA) has been performed to warrant arm perfusion and to prevent paraplegia during thoracic stent graft (SG) procedures. We retrospectively investigated the outcome after intentional occlusion of the left subclavian artery during SG repair for thoracic aortic diseases.

METHODS: From December 2000 to June 2005, 11 patients (mean age, 57 +/- 19 years) with a short (<1 cm) proximal aspect of a thoracic aortic lesion underwent intentional LSA coverage to expand the proximal landing zone for SG fixation. Three patients were treated in the emergency setting. We did not perform a prophylactic revascularization of the LSA prior to SG implantation. A preliminary balloon occlusion test of the LSA was not performed in this series. The SG was positioned so that its covering was immediately distal to the left common carotid artery.

RESULTS: SG implantation was technically successful in all patients. Intraoperative mortality was not observed; no patient suffered any impairment of left carotid artery flow. Aortography after SG implantation showed no direct flow in the LSA and refilling of the LSA via the ipsilateral vertebral artery. After the intervention, mean systolic pressure in the left arm decreased by 38 +/- 17 mmHg. The stented length of the aorta was 171 +/- 73 (median, 150). During hospitalization, no patient showed any signs of left arm malperfusion. Paraplegia was not observed. One patient developed transient ischemic attack. During a mean follow-up of 19 +/- 8 months (range, 3-36), all patients were completely asymptomatic and had no functional deficit or temperature differential between arms. No leakage was detected.

CONCLUSION: Intentional LSA occlusion seems to be well tolerated. Prophylactic surgical maneuvers may be relegated to an elective measure after an endovascular aortic intervention when intolerable signs or symptoms of ischemia occur.


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