Veno-venous perfusion to cool and rewarm in thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair

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Femoro-femoral veno-arterial perfusion is an established circulatory support and cooling method for thoracic- and/or thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair. However, retrograde perfusion through femoral arteries can lead to retrograde cerebral embolization and neurologic dysfunction after surgery. To avoid these complications, we have established a femoro-femoral veno-venous perfusion technique and evaluated its safety and effectiveness in elective and nonelective patients.


Common femoral veins were cannulated bilaterally percutaneously following systemic low-dose heparinization (100 IU/kg body weight). Venous blood was drained from drainage of the inferior vena cava, and venous return followed through the superior vena cava. After proximal aortic cross-clamping, veno-venous perfusion was switched to veno-arterial antegrade perfusion through the distal descending thoracic aorta to achieve spinal and visceral perfusion or through iliac arteries for distal perfusion combined with selective renovisceral blood perfusion. After completion of aortic repair, the arterial cannula was removed and the patient rewarmed just by switching back to veno-venous perfusion. Gas and temperature exchange as well as relevant hemodynamic parameters were recorded prospectively and analyzed retrospectively in 25 consecutive patients including 15 nonelective cases.


Percutaneous insertion of outflow (28F cannula) and inflow (18F cannula) venous cannulae was complication-free and allowed unrestricted perfusion in all 25 patients. Veno-venous perfusion allowed effective cooling (mean body temperature 36.6 ± 0.6°C to 31.6 ± 2.1°C, P = .001 compared with start of cooling) and re-warming (mean body temperature 30.5 ± 3°C to 36.3 ± 0.8°C, P = .03 compared with start of re-warming). Hemodynamic as well as pulmonary parameters remained remarkably stable during surgical dissection and single lung ventilation even in nonelective cases. There was no complication associated with the perfusion technique during surgery.


Transfemoral veno-venous cooling and re-warming results in remarkable hemodynamic stability during open repair of thoracic- and/or thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms and eliminates the need for retrograde arterial perfusion and its inherent risks.

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