Utility and safety of axillary conduits during endovascular repair of thoracoabdominal aneurysms: From the Eastern Vascular Society

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Endovascular treatment of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (TAAAs) with branched and fenestrated stent grafts often requires upper extremity arterial access for antegrade delivery of bridging covered stents into the visceral arteries. Axillary, brachial, and radial artery approaches have been described, but data on the safety and utility of the different approaches remain limited. We have preferentially used axillary artery conduits for upper extremity arterial access during endovascular repair of TAAA and describe our technique and report our experience herein.


Thirty-two patients were treated within an investigator-sponsored investigational device exemption clinical trial of endovascular repair of TAAAs using custom-manufactured stent grafts. In 29 of these cases, the axillary artery was exposed through an infraclavicular incision, and an axillary conduit was used for antegrade delivery of bridging visceral artery stent components. In all cases, a 12F sheath was placed through the conduit for delivery of stent graft components. The left axillary artery was used in 27 of these 29 cases, and the right axillary artery was used in 2 patients. Proximal brachial artery access was used in two patients, and one patient did not require upper extremity access. Aneurysms treated included pararenal (n = 3) and Crawford TAAA extent I (n = 1), extent II (n = 3), extent III (n = 10), and extent IV (n = 15). Patients have been followed up to 2 years after the procedure, with a mean follow-up of 226 days.


Axillary conduits were used to deliver a total of 170 stent components placed into 81 branches and 27 fenestrations with 99.1% technical success (one accessory renal branch could not be cannulated). There were no intraoperative complications related to the construction or use of the conduit. There were two postoperative complications (6.9%) potentially attributable to the conduit; one patient experienced ipsilateral hand weakness and one patient had postoperative minor stroke, which resolved by the first postoperative visit. There were no cases of arm ischemia, wound hematoma, or reoperation related to the conduit.


The use of an axillary conduit during endovascular repair of complex aortic aneurysms provides safe and effective upper extremity access for delivery of visceral branches. Moreover, axillary conduits facilitate delivery of 12F sheaths without interrupting upper extremity perfusion and provide a shorter working distance compared with brachial artery approaches.

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