Chronic dissection of the thoracic and thoracoabdominal aorta as sequela of a prior type A or B dissection is a challenging problem that requires close radiographic surveillance and prompt operative intervention in the presence of symptoms or aneurysm formation. Open repair of chronic thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic dissection using deep hypothermia has been our preferred method to treat this complex pathology. The advantages of this technique include organ and spinal cord protection, the flexibility to extend the repair proximally into the arch, and the ability to limit ischemia to all vascular beds.Methods
Open repair of arch by left thoracotomy and descending thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic pathology using deep hypothermia was performed in 664 patients from 1995 to 2015. A subset of this cohort had chronic thoracoabdominal aortic dissection (n = 196). All nonemergency cases received coronary angiography and echocardiography preoperatively. Significant coronary artery disease or severe aortic insufficiency was addressed before repair of the chronic dissection. In recent years, lumbar drains were placed preoperatively in the most extensive repairs (extents II and III). Important intercostal arteries from T8 to L1 were revascularized with smaller-diameter looped grafts. Multibranched grafts for the visceral segment have been preferred in recent years.Results
Mean age of patients was 58 ± 14 years. Men comprised 74% of the cohort. Aortopathy was confirmed in 18% of the cohort. Prior thoracic aortic repair occurred in 57% of patients, and prior abdominal aortic repair occurred in 14% of patients. Prior type A aortic dissection occurred in 44% of patients, and prior type B occurred in 56% of patients. Operative mortality was 3.6%, permanent spinal cord ischemia occurred in 2.6% of patients, permanent hemodialysis occurred in 0% of patients, and permanent stroke occurred in 1% of patients. Reexploration for bleeding was 5.1%, and respiratory failure requiring tracheostomy occurred in 2.6%. Postoperative length of stay was 11.9 ± 9.7 days. Reintervention for pseudoaneurysm or growth of a distal aneurysm was 6.9%. The 1-, 5-, and 10-year survivals were 93%, 79%, and 57%, respectively.Conclusions
Open repair of chronic thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic dissection using deep hypothermia and circulatory arrest has low morbidity and mortality. The need for reintervention is low, and long-term survival is excellent. We believe that open repair continues to be the gold standard in patients who are suitable candidates for surgery.