Endovascular repair of the ascending aorta is currently limited to patients at high surgical risk with aortic diseases originating above the sinotubular junction. A number of different endovascular technologies and approaches have been used, although no consensus exists regarding a standardized technique. To better understand real-world endovascular approaches to the ascending aorta, we performed a comprehensive review of the types of endovascular aortic stents and associated vascular access used in repair of the ascending aorta.Methods
A search of the MEDLINE database was conducted from January 1, 1995, through January 31, 2017, with the search term “ascending aortic stent.” Studies involving endovascular stenting in which the primary therapy was confined exclusively to the ascending aorta were included. Studies involving hybrid arch procedures and surgical replacement of the ascending aorta associated with aortic stenting were excluded. The type of aortic stent, underlying aortic disease, and surgical approach were recorded along with outcomes, need for reinterventions, and follow-up.Results
A total of 46 publications that focused on primary endovascular repair of the ascending aorta were identified. Thirteen different aortic stent grafts of various designs were used in 118 total patients. The most commonly used device types were thoracic stents (n = 84 [71.2%]) along with abdominal cuffs (n = 13 [11%]) and custom-made grafts (n = 12 [10.2%]). The most commonly treated aortic disease was type A aortic dissection (n = 59 [50%]), followed by aortic pseudoaneurysm (n = 35 [29.7%]), aortic aneurysm (n = 6 [5.1%]), penetrating atherosclerotic ulcer (n = 5 [4.2%]), and acute aortic rupture (n = 3 [2.5%]). Femoral arterial access was used in 62.7% of patients (n = 74); transapical (n = 17 [14.4%]), carotid (n = 15 [12.7%]), and axillary (n = 8 [6.8%]) approaches were also used. The overall type I endoleak rate was 18.6% (n = 22), with 11 patients (9.3%) requiring reintervention. Other complications included all-cause mortality (n = 18 [15.2%]), conversions to open surgery (n = 4 [3.4%]), and cerebrovascular complications (n = 4 [3.4%]). Aorta-related mortality was 5% (n = 6), and average follow-up was 17.2 months.Conclusions
Despite the absence of a dedicated aortic stent graft for the ascending aorta, patients with a range of ascending aortic diseases are being successfully treated by endovascular technologies. For optimal outcomes, patient selection is critical to align aortic anatomy with the limited device sizing options, and it should be reserved for patients at high surgical risk.