Society for Vascular Surgery clinical practice guidelines of thoracic endovascular aortic repair for descending thoracic aortic aneurysms.
Thoracic aortic diseases, including disease of the descending thoracic aorta (DTA), are significant causes of death in the United States. Open repair of the DTA is a physiologically impactful operation with relatively high rates of mortality, paraplegia, and renal failure. Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) has revolutionized treatment of the DTA and has largely supplanted open repair because of lower morbidity and mortality. These Society for Vascular Surgery Practice Guidelines are applicable to the use of TEVAR for descending thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) as well as for other rarer pathologic processes of the DTA. Management of aortic dissections and traumatic injuries will be discussed in separate Society for Vascular Surgery documents. In general, there is a lack of high-quality evidence across all TAA diseases, highlighting the need for better comparative effectiveness research. Yet, large single-center experiences, administrative databases, and meta-analyses have consistently reported beneficial effects of TEVAR over open repair, especially in the setting of rupture. Many of the strongest recommendations from this guideline focus on imaging before, during, or after TEVAR and include the following: In patients considered at high risk for symptomatic TAA or acute aortic syndrome, we recommend urgent imaging, usually computed tomography angiography (CTA) because of its speed and ease of use for preoperative planning. Level of recommendation: Grade 1 (Strong), Quality of Evidence: B (Moderate). If TEVAR is being considered, we recommend fine-cut (≤0.25 mm) CTA of the entire aorta as well as of the iliac and femoral arteries. CTA of the head and neck is also needed to determine the anatomy of the vertebral arteries. Level of recommendation: Grade 1 (Strong), Quality of Evidence: A (High). We recommend routine use of three-dimensional centerline reconstruction software for accurate case planning and execution in TEVAR. Level of recommendation: Grade 1 (Strong), Quality of Evidence: B (Moderate). We recommend contrast-enhanced computed tomography scanning at 1 month and 12 months after TEVAR and then yearly for life, with consideration of more frequent imaging if an endoleak or other abnormality of concern is detected at 1 month. Level of recommendation: Grade 1 (Strong), Quality of Evidence: B (Moderate). Finally, based on our review, in patients who could undergo either technique (within the criteria of the device's instructions for use), we recommend TEVAR as the preferred approach to treat elective DTA aneurysms, given its reduced morbidity and length of stay as well as short-term mortality. Level of recommendation: Grade 1 (Strong), Quality of Evidence: A (High). Given the benefits of TEVAR, treatment using a minimally invasive approach is largely based on anatomic eligibility rather than on patient-specific factors, as is the case in open TAA repair. Thus, for isolated lesions of the DTA, TEVAR should be the primary method of repair in both the elective and emergent setting based on improved short-term and midterm mortality as well as decreased morbidity.
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