Surgical treatment of pseudoaneurysm of the thoracic aorta

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To examine the clinical profiles, operative outcomes, and late results of patients with pseudoaneurysm of the thoracic aorta.


From 1990 to 2002, 60 patients underwent repair of aortic pseudoaneurysm: ascending aorta in 70%, ascending aorta and arch in 15%, descending aorta in 10%, and arch alone in 5%. Mean age was 53 ± 15 years, and 70% were men. Of these, 50 (83%) had undergone previous cardiac surgery, including 22 (37%) composite valve graft operations. The preferred cannulation site was femoral-femoral (n = 27, 45%), with deep hypothermic circulatory arrest in 62% and retrograde cerebral perfusion in 33%; more recently, however, axillary cannulation has been preferred.


Principal etiologies were graft infection in ascending aorta pseudoaneurysm and trauma in descending aorta pseudoaneurysm. Fifteen patients (25%) presented with chest pain, 13 (22%) with heart failure, and 20% with moderate or severe aortic regurgitation. The pseudoaneurysm was resected and the aorta replaced (n = 45, 75%) or repaired (n = 15, 25%) using various methods. Hospital mortality was 6.7% (n = 4). Reexploration for bleeding was required in 8.3%, and 3.3% had postoperative stroke. At 30 days, 5 years, and 10 years, survival was 94%, 74%, and 60% and freedom from reoperation was 95%, 77%, and 67%, respectively.


Most patients with aortic pseudoaneurysm require ascending aorta and/or arch replacement, which can be accomplished with low operative mortality and morbidity. Long-term survival and freedom from reoperation in these young patients parallel those expected for complex cardiac and aortic disease.

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