Patients with complex aortic disease often require multistaged repairs with numerous anastomoses. Manual suturing can be time consuming. To reduce ischemic time, a circular stapling device has been used to facilitate prosthetic graft-to-graft anastomoses. Objectives are to describe this technique and assess outcomes.Methods
From February 2009 to May 2014, 44 patients underwent complex aortic repair with a circular end-to-end anastomosis (EEA) stapler at Cleveland Clinic. All patients had extensive aneurysms: 17 after ascending dissection repair, 10 chronic type B dissections, and 17 degenerative aneurysms. Stapler was used during total arch repair as an end-to-side anastomosis (n = 36; including first stage elephant trunk [ET] in 32, frozen ET in 3) and an end-to-end anastomosis during redo thoracoabdominal repair (n = 11). Three patients had the stapler used during both stages of repair. Patients underwent early and annual follow-ups with computed tomography analysis.Results
There were no bleeds, ruptures, or leaks at the stapled site, but 2 patients died. Complications included 7 reoperations not related to the site of stapled anastomosis and 6 tracheostomies, but there was no paralysis or renal failure. Mean circulatory arrest time was 16 ± 5 minutes. Mean follow-up was 26 ± 17 months and consisted of imaging before discharge, at 3 to 6 months, and at 1 year. Planned reinterventions included 21 second-stage ET completion: Endovascular (n = 18) and open (n = 3). There were 4 late deaths.Conclusions
Use of an end-to-end anastomotic automated circular stapler is safe, effective, and durable in performing graft-to-graft anastomoses during complex thoracic aortic surgery. Further evaluation and refinement of this technique are warranted.