State of the art in neuroprotection during acute type A aortic dissection repair

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Temporary (TND) or permanent neurologic dysfunctions (PND) represent the main neurological complications following acute aortic dissection repair. The aim of our experimental and clinical research was the improvement and update of the most common neuroprotective strategies which are in present use.

Hypothermic circulatory arrest (HCA):

Cerebral metabolic suppression at the clinically most used temperatures (18-22°C) is less complete than had been assumed previously. If used as a ‘stand-alone’ neuroprotective strategy, cooling to 15-20°C with a jugular SO2 ≥ 95% is needed to provide sufficient metabolic suppression. Regardless of the depth of cooling, the HCA interval should not exceed 25 min. After 40 min of HCA, the incidence of TND and PND increases, after 60 min, the mortality rate increases.

Antegrade selective cerebral perfusion (ASCP):

At moderate hypothermia (25-28°C), ASCP should be performed at a pump flow rate of 10ml/kg/min, targeting a cerebral perfusion pressure of 50-60mmHg. Experimental data revealed that these conditions offer an optimal regional blood flow in the cortex (80±27ml/min/100g), the cerebellum (77±32ml/ min/100g), the pons (89±5ml/min/100g) and the hippocampus (55±16ml/min/100g) for 25 minutes. If prolonged, does ASCP at 32°C provide the same neuroprotective effect?

Cannulation strategy:

Direct axillary artery cannulation ensures the advantage of performing both systemic cooling and ASCP through the same cannula, preventing additional manipulation with the attendant embolic risk. An additional cannulation of the left carotid artery ensures a bi-hemispheric perfusion, with a neurologic outcome of only 6% TND and 1% PND.


Near-infrared spectroscopy and evoked potentials may prove the effectiveness of the neuroprotective strategy used, especially if the trend goes to less radical cooling.


A short interval of HCA (5 min) followed by a more extended period of ASCP (25 min) at moderate hypothermia (28°C), with a pump flow rate of 10ml/kg/min and a cerebral perfusion pressure of 50 mmHg, represents safe conditions for open arch surgery.

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