The midterm results of stent graft treatment of thoracic aortic injuries

James T McPhee, Emad H Asham, Michael J Rohrer, Michael J Singh, Geoffrey Wong, Robert W Vorhies, Peter R Nelson, Bruce S Cutler
Journal of Surgical Research 2007, 138 (2): 181-8

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Several publications document the technical feasibility of stent graft repair of aortic transection. We report our mid-term results of endovascular repair of thoracic aortic transections using covered stent grafts and compare this to a cohort undergoing open repair during the same time period to demonstrate the shift in practice pattern at our institution.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective review of patients who sustained blunt thoracic transection was undertaken. Medical records were examined to identify the clinical outcome of the procedure, and follow-up CT scans were reviewed to document adequate treatment of the transection. Outcome measures include procedure-related mortality, neurological morbidity, and successful immediate and mid-term coverage of the thoracic false aneurysm and absence of graft migration or endoleak.

RESULTS: From July, 2000 to October, 2004, 27 patients were identified with descending thoracic aortic transection at our level I trauma center. Fourteen patients were managed nonoperatively, five patients underwent thoracotomy and direct aortic repair, and eight patients underwent endoluminal stent graft repair. Of the endovascular group (n=8), repairs were performed with stacked AneuRx aortic cuffs (Medtronic, Inc., Minneapolis, MN) (n = 6), a Gore thoracic aortic stent graft (Thoracic EXCLUDER; W.L. Gore, Flagstaff, AZ) (n=1), or a Medtronic Talent thoracic endograft (Medtronic, Inc.) (n=1). Access for stent graft deployment was the common femoral artery (n=2), iliac artery (n=4), or distal abdominal aorta (n=2). Completion arch aortography and postoperative CT scanning confirmed successful management of the aortic transection in each patient. There were no procedure-related deaths, paraplegia, or stroke. Postoperative complications included a brachial artery thrombosis in one patient as well as an external iliac artery dissection and acute renal failure in a second patient for a complication rate of 37.5%. Two patients died as a result of their injuries unrelated to the stent graft repair. Mean follow-up of 16.6 mo has shown no evidence of endoleak or stent graft migration. Of the open repair group (n=5), one patient died in the operating room during attempted aortic repair, and one patient had a postoperative stroke.

CONCLUSIONS: Due to technical success and absence of delayed complications including endoleak and graft migration, stent graft repair of traumatic aortic transection has replaced open aortic repair as the primary treatment modality in the multiply injured trauma patient at our institution. The postoperative complication rate observed in this small series tempers the success to some degree, but the severity of the complications compares favorably with those observed in the open repair group.

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