Pseudoaneurysms of the Ascending Aorta Following Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

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Ascending aortic pseudoaneurysms following prior cardiac procedures are a rare entity. We reviewed our institutional experience given the isolated case reports in the literature.


A 10-year retrospective review identified 5 patients who underwent ascending aorta pseudoaneurysm repair. There were 3 women and 2 men with a median age of 70 years (range 63 to 79 years). Median duration from initial CABG to pseudoaneurysm repair was 5 years (range 5 months to 18 years). The clinical presentations included dyspnoea (2 patients), chest pain, fever of unknown origin, and a pulsatile mass. Four patients underwent urgent investigation and surgery. Diagnosis was established via CT scan (3 patients), transesophageal echocardiogram (1 patient), and MRA (1 patient). Two patients had a prior history of sternal wound infection.


Mortality was 60%. One survivor experienced a stroke. The etiology was prior cannulation site in 4 cases and vein graft anastamotic site in 1. Necrotic aortic tissue was noticed in 2 cases. Aortic tissue cultures were negative in all the patients. Cardiopulmonary bypass was established prior to sternotomy in 4 cases and 1 case was performed off-pump. Inadvertent rupture of the pseudoaneurysm (without exsanguination) occurred in 2 cases following sternotomy. Repair was performed with bovine pericardial patch in 2 cases and plication in 3 cases.


This highlights the varied presentation, necessity for urgent diagnosis and repair with a high operative mortality due to the late presentation. Aggressive diagnosis should be sought and consideration should be given to catheter-based interventions for initial treatment.

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