Open repair of chronic distal aortic dissection in the endovascular era: Implications for disease management

Akshat C Pujara, Eric E Roselli, Adrian V Hernandez, Lina M Vargas Abello, Jacob M Burke, Lars G Svensson, Roy K Greenberg
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2012, 144 (4): 866-73

OBJECTIVE: Controversy surrounds the treatment of chronic aortic dissection. Open surgical and endovascular experiences include mixed populations treated with evolving strategies and limited follow-up. We establish a standard against which endovascular repair can be compared by assessing outcomes after open repair of chronic distal aortic dissections anatomically suitable to stent-grafting.

METHODS: From 2000 to 2008, 169 patients underwent open repair of the descending thoracic artery only (n = 88) or thoracoabdominal (n = 81) chronic aortic dissection (elective in 98, urgent/emergency in 71). Chart review and 3-dimensional assessment of computed tomography were performed. Poor outcome included all-cause mortality or vascular reintervention.

RESULTS: Thirty-day mortality was 8% (n = 14). Serious complications included neurologic (n = 12 [spinal cord n = 4, 2.4%]), respiratory (n = 32), and renal failure (n = 1 descending thoracic artery only vs 17 thoracoabdominal, P < .001). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease predicted early mortality (hazard ratio 8.0, P = .005). Survival at 1, 2, and 5 years was 76%, 69%, and 55%, respectively; 23 patients (14%) required reintervention. Event-free survival at 5 years was 51% and 47% after descending thoracic artery only or thoracoabdominal repair, respectively. Greater maximum aortic diameter (hazard ratio 1.9, P = .03) and greater diameter at the diaphragm (hazard ratio 3.7, P = .01) or renal segment (hazard ratio 4.3, P = .03) predicted poor outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: Early outcomes are good and late outcomes are less than desirable after open repair of chronic distal aortic dissection, regardless of the extent of repair. High-risk and late-stage patients with larger and more extensive aneurysmal degeneration warrant further investigation, including the use of newer, less-invasive techniques. Select patients at risk for aneurysmal degeneration should undergo a more aggressive initial approach with aortic dissection repair.

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