JOURNAL ARTICLE

Risk factors, outcomes, and clinical manifestations of spinal cord ischemia following thoracic endovascular aortic repair

Brant W Ullery, Albert T Cheung, Ronald M Fairman, Benjamin M Jackson, Edward Y Woo, Joseph Bavaria, Alberto Pochettino, Grace J Wang
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2011, 54 (3): 677-84
21571494

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence, risk factors, and clinical manifestations of spinal cord ischemia (SCI) after thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR).

METHODS: A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database was performed for all patients undergoing TEVAR at a single academic institution between July 2002 and June 2010. Preoperative demographics, procedure-related variables, and clinical details related to SCI were examined. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify risk factors for the development of SCI.

RESULTS: Of the 424 patients who underwent TEVAR during the study period, 12 patients (2.8%) developed SCI. Mean age of this cohort with SCI was 69.6 years (range, 44-84 years), and 7 were women. One-half of these patients had prior open or endovascular aortic repair. Indication for surgery was either degenerative aneurysm (n = 8) or dissection (n = 4). Six TEVARs were performed electively, with the remaining done either urgently or emergently due to contained rupture (n = 2), dissection with malperfusion (n = 2), or severe back pain (n = 2). All 12 patients underwent extent C endovascular coverage. Multivariate regression analysis demonstrated chronic renal insufficiency to be independently associated with SCI (odds ratio [OR], 4.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-16.6; P = .029). Onset of SCI occurred at a median of 10.6 hours (range, 0-229 hours) postprocedure and was delayed in 83% (n = 10) of patients. Clinical manifestations of SCI included lower extremity paraparesis in 9 patients and paraplegia in 3 patients. At SCI onset, average mean arterial pressure (MAP) and lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure was 77 mm Hg and 10 mm Hg, respectively. Therapeutic interventions increased blood pressure to a significantly higher average MAP of 99 mm Hg (P = .001) and decreased lumbar CSF pressure to a mean of 7 mm Hg (P = .30) at the time of neurologic recovery. Thirty-day mortality was 8% (1 of 12 patients). The single patient who expired, never recovered any lower extremity neurologic function. All patients surviving to discharge experienced either complete (n = 9) or incomplete (n = 2) neurologic recovery. At mean follow-up of 49 months, 7 of 9 patients currently alive continued to exhibit complete, sustained neurologic recovery.

CONCLUSION: Spinal cord ischemia after TEVAR is an uncommon, but important complication. Preoperative renal insufficiency was identified as a risk factor for the development of SCI. Early detection and treatment of SCI with blood pressure augmentation alone or in combination with CSF drainage was effective in most patients, with the majority achieving complete, long-term neurologic recovery.

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