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The heparin-coated vascular shunt for thoracic aortic and great vessel procedures: a ten-year experience.

From 1966 to 1976 a flexible, heparin-coated shunt was used for operative procedures on the thoracic aorta and great vessels in 25 patients aged 15 to 78 years. Twenty patients had resection of aneurysms of the descending thoracic aorta. There was 1 death in 15 patients undergoing elective resection and 2 deaths (both from rupturing aneurysms) in 5 patients having emergency resection. The shunt was used in 5 patients who had procedures involving involving the great vessels. There have been no complications attributable to the shunt in either group. The advantages of this shunt include elimination of the need for systemic heparin, avoidance of hypertension during cross-clamping, and adequate perfusion of the distal cirulation without an interposed pump. Because of the ease of handling, low risk, and versatility, we consider the use of this shunt the preferred method for support in elective procedures of the thoracic aorta and great vessels.

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