Surgical management of aortic dissection during a 30-year period

J I Fann, J A Smith, D C Miller, R S Mitchell, K A Moore, G Grunkemeier, E B Stinson, P E Oyer, B A Reitz, N E Shumway
Circulation 1995 November 1, 92 (9): II113-21

BACKGROUND: Certain recent studies have demonstrated improved surgical outcome in patients with aortic dissection. We analyzed the surgical survival rates of patients with acute aortic dissections and the late prognosis of those with aortic dissection during a 30-year period.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Between 1963 and 1992, 360 patients (256 men and 104 women; mean +/- 1 SD age, 57 +/- 14 years) underwent surgery for aortic dissection: 174 patients had an acute type A (AcA), 46 an acute type B (AcB), 106 a chronic type A (ChA), and 34 a chronic type B (ChB) aortic dissection. The overall operative mortality rate was 24 +/- 8% (26 +/- 3% for AcA, 39 +/- 8% for AcB, 17 +/- 4% for ChA, and 15 +/- 6% for ChB, [+/- 70% confidence limit]). The operative mortality rates for patients with acute aortic dissection (AcA or AcB) were assessed for five time "windows": 1963 to 1972 (42 +/- 8%), 1973 to 1977 (37 +/- 8%), 1978 to 1982 (15 +/- 6%), 1983 to 1987 (27 +/- 6%), and 1988 to 1992 (26 +/- 6%). Logistic regression analysis suggested that the low operative mortality rate during the 1978-to-1982 interval occurred by chance. Multivariate analysis showed earlier operative year, hypertension, cardiac tamponade, renal dysfunction, and older age were independent determinants of operative death. Actuarial survival rates (including early deaths) after 5, 10, and 15 years for AcA patients were 55%, 37%, and 24%; for AcB, 48%, 29%, and 11%; for ChA, 65%, 45%, and 27%; and for ChB, 59%, 45%, and 27%. Multivariate analysis revealed that older age and previous operation were significant predictors for late death. Freedom from reoperation for all patients was 84%, 67%, and 57% at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the operative mortality rate decreased over time for patients with aortic dissection, the risk for those with acute aortic dissection during the last 10 years (1983 to 1992) is probably more realistic than that observed in the preceding 5-year interval (1978 to 1982). The operative mortality rates for patients with chronic aortic dissection have remained relatively static. Earlier diagnosis of acute aortic dissection before development of cardiac tamponade and renal impairment is critical to improve the operative salvage rate. Long-term outcome still is not optimal, which emphasizes the need for better serial postoperative aortic imaging surveillance and medical follow-up and blood pressure control.

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