Long-term outcomes after thoracic aortic surgery: A population-based study

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Long-term survival after aortic surgery has remained largely unexplored, despite suggestions of superior durability compared with endovascular techniques. The objective of the present study was to determine the long-term survival after open thoracic aortic surgery and to identify the predictors of mortality.


The provincial database was accessed to identify all adult patients who had undergone primary open thoracic aortic surgery in British Columbia since 1993. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were performed for the entire group and by year of surgery, urgency of surgery, and aortic segment requiring surgery. Multivariate analyses were performed to identify the predictors of mortality.


From January 1993 to June 2010, 1960 patients underwent primary open thoracic aortic surgery at 4 hospitals in British Columbia. Overall, the 30-day mortality was 9.1%, with a perioperative stroke rate of 5.8%. Long-term survival was 77.7%, 59.6%, and 44.7% at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. Subanalyses demonstrated improved long-term survival in the modern era; among patients undergoing elective aortic surgery; and among patients undergoing surgery on the ascending aorta or aortic root (P < .0001). The preoperative characteristics associated with decreased long-term survival included age older than 65 years, acute renal failure, dialysis, cerebrovascular accident, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peripheral vascular disease, and descending or thoracoabdominal aorta surgery.


Long-term survival after elective thoracic aortic surgery is excellent, with improved outcomes in the modern era. Several preoperative risk factors associated with decreased survival were identified, which could assist in risk stratification and patient selection. Finally, the long-term survival rates identified in the present study should serve as a benchmark to which new aortic interventions should be compared.

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