Treatment of type II endoleaks associated with left subclavian artery coverage during thoracic aortic stent grafting

Mark D Peterson, Grayson H Wheatley, Jacques Kpodonu, James P Williams, Venkatesh G Ramaiah, Julio A Rodriguez-Lopez, Edward B Diethrich
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2008, 136 (5): 1193-9

OBJECTIVE: Increasing experience with thoracic aortic stent grafts has led to a more aggressive approach to thoracic aortic pathologies in the distal aortic arch and proximal descending thoracic aorta. To increase the length of the proximal landing zone, it is sometimes necessary to cover the left subclavian artery with the thoracic stent-graft, introducing the risk of retrograde filling of the excluded aorta from the left subclavian artery. It is currently unclear how best to manage these patients to prevent persistent risk of aneurysm expansion or rupture. We report our experience with a minimally invasive endovascular repair of the covered left subclavian artery.

METHODS: We reviewed prospectively gathered data on all investigational device exemption-approved patients undergoing thoracic aortic stent grafting at the Arizona Heart Institute from 2000 to 2006 (n = 289 patients). Patients had surveillance with a contrast-enhanced computed tomography scan on the first postoperative day and during follow-up at 1, 6, and 12 months.

RESULTS: A total of 289 patients received thoracic stent grafts during the study: Medtronic Talent (Medtronic, Minneapolis, Minn) (n = 25) or Gore TAG (WL Gore & Associates Inc, Flagstaff, Ariz) (n = 261). The left subclavian artery was covered in 23% of patients (n = 66), of whom 17% had preoperative carotid-subclavian bypass (n = 11/66). Among patients with left subclavian artery coverage, the 30-day mortality was 6.1% (n = 4), procedure-related strokes developed in 3 patients (n = 3, 4.6%), and the incidence of left arm claudication was 7.6% (n = 5), necessitating postoperative carotid-subclavian bypass in 2 patients. Twelve patients (18%) had a type I (n = 6) or II (n = 7) endoleak. Coverage of the left subclavian artery accounted for 71% of the type II endoleaks (n = 5), whereas patent intercostals accounted for the rest (n = 2). Type II endoleaks associated with left subclavian artery coverage were successfully treated by retrograde coil embolization from the left brachial artery (n = 3) or left subclavian artery ligation (n = 1).

CONCLUSION: Coverage of the left subclavian artery during thoracic aortic stent grafting is associated with a low incidence of arm complications and type II endoleaks. All type II endoleaks were successfully treated by retrograde coil embolization or ligation of the left subclavian artery. Successful treatment of endoleaks may reduce the risk of aneurysm expansion or rupture.


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