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Cervical reconstruction of the supra-aortic trunks: a 16-year experience

R Berguer, M D Morasch, R A Kline, A Kazmers, M S Friedland
Journal of Vascular Surgery 1999, 29 (2): 239-46; discussion 246-8

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to review 182 consecutive cervical reconstructions of supra-aortic trunks, which were performed over a 16-year period.

METHODS: A total of 182 innominate, common carotid, or subclavian arteries were reconstructed with a cervical approach in 173 patients aged 23 days to 83 years. Indications included hemispheric (n = 79), vertebrobasilar (n = 56), upper extremity (24), and internal mammary/cardiac ischemia (n = 5), asymptomatic severe common carotid disease (n = 33), or other (n = 3). Primary atherosclerotic innominate (n = 6), common carotid (n = 84), and subclavian (n = 66) lesions underwent reconstruction. Thirty-one operations were performed for multiple trunk involvement, recurrent disease, arteritis, infection, dissection, coarctation, or aneurysm. There were 122 bypass grafting procedures (98 ipsilateral, 24 contralateral) and 60 arterial transpositions.

RESULTS: One death (0.5%) and 7 nonfatal strokes (3.8%) occurred, none in patients who were asymptomatic. Perioperative morbidity included four asymptomatic occlusions (2%), 6 myocardial infarctions (3%), 10 pulmonary complications (5%), and 2 graft infections (1%). Follow-up periods ranged from 1 to 190 months (mean, 53 +/- 5 months). Nineteen patients (10%) were lost to follow-up. Fifty-seven late deaths occurred, most from cardiac causes. Seven reconstructions necessitated late revision. The cumulative primary patency rate at 5 and 10 years was 91% +/- 2% and 82% +/- 5%, respectively. The survival rate at 5 years was 72% +/- 4% and at 10 years was 41% +/- 6%. The stroke-free survival rate was 92% +/- 2% at 5 years and 84% +/- 2% at 10 years.

CONCLUSION: Cervical reconstruction of symptomatic and asymptomatic supra-aortic trunk lesions carries acceptable death and stroke rates and provides a long-term patient benefit. This should be the preferred approach for asymptomatic lesions and for patients with significant comorbidity because it carries less morbidity than direct transmediastinal aortic-based reconstruction.

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