Recent Clinical Experience With Left Heart Bypass Using a Centrifugal Pump for Repair of Traumatic Aortic Transection

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To analyze the indications, results, and limitations of using left atrial to femoral artery (LA-FA) bypass to provide distal perfusion during repair of traumatic aortic injuries.

Summary Background Data

There is no consensus about the best method for repair of traumatic aortic transection. Distal aortic perfusion with LA-FA bypass and a centrifugal pump has been the authors’ preferred technique for injuries to the aortic isthmus and descending thoracic aorta.


From 1988 to 1998, the authors operated on 30 patients with traumatic aortic transection using LA-FA bypass. The mean age of the group was 36 ± 2 years. The mechanism of injury was from a motor vehicle accident in 97% of the cases. Distal aortic perfusion was maintained at 50 to 75 mm Hg with flow rates of 1.5 and 3 L/min. The mean aortic cross-clamp time was 38 ± 2 minutes, and the mean bypass time was 49 ± 2 minutes.


No complications related to cannulation, arterial thromboembolism, renal failure, mesenteric ischemia, or hepatic insufficiency occurred. There were no cases of postoperative paraplegia and no deaths.


Left atrial to femoral artery bypass is a safe, simple, and effective adjunct to the repair of traumatic injuries to the thoracic aorta. Active distal aortic perfusion preserves spinal cord, mesenteric, and renal blood flow and eliminates the potential catastrophic consequence of spinal cord ischemia from an unexpectedly prolonged aortic cross-clamp time.

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