A 10-year institutional experience with open branched graft reconstruction of aortic aneurysms in connective tissue disorders versus degenerative disease

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Aortic reconstruction for complex thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (TAAAs) can be challenging, especially in patients with connective tissue disorders (CTDs) in whom tissue fragility is a major concern. Branched graft reconstruction is a more complex operation compared with inclusion patch repair of the aorta but is frequently necessary in patients with CTDs or other pathologies because of anatomic reasons. We describe our institutional experience with open branched graft reconstruction of aortic aneurysms and compare outcomes for patients with CTDs vs degenerative pathologies.


We retrospectively analyzed all patients undergoing open aortic reconstruction using branched grafts at our institution between July 2006 and December 2015. Postoperative outcomes, including perioperative morbidity and mortality, midterm graft patency, and the development of new aneurysms, were compared for patients with CTD vs degenerative disease.


During the 10-year study period, 137 patients (CTD, 29; degenerative, 108) underwent aortic repair with branched graft reconstruction. CTD patients were significantly younger (39 ± 1.9 vs 68 ± 1.0 years; P < .001) and had fewer comorbidities (hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease; P < .05) but a higher prevalence of aortic dissections (55% vs 16%; P < .001) and aneurysms involving the thoracic aorta (90% vs 60%; P = .003) than patients with degenerative disease. Perioperative mortality (CTD: 10% [n = 3] vs degenerative: 6% [n = 6]; P = .40) and any complication (62% vs 55%; P = .47) were similar between groups. At a median follow-up time of 14.5 months (interquartile range: 6.5, 43.9 months), CTD patients were more likely to develop both new aortic (21%) and nonaortic (14%) aneurysms compared with the degenerative group (7% and 4% for aortic and nonaortic aneurysms, respectively; P = .02). Loss of branch graft patency occurred in 0 of 99 grafts (0%) in CTD patients and in 13 of 167 grafts (7.8%) in degenerative disease patients (P = .005). Loss of branch graft patency occurred most commonly in left renal artery bypass grafts (77%) and was clinically asymptomatic (creatinine: 1.77 ± 0.13 mg/dL currently vs 1.41 ± 0.25 preoperatively; P = .22).


CTD patients with aortic aneurysms who undergo open branched graft reconstruction have reasonable outcomes compared with patients with degenerative pathology, including better branched graft patency and a similar risk of perioperative mortality and complications. Open repair of aortic aneurysms with branched graft reconstruction can be performed safely in both populations with low perioperative mortality, but ongoing surveillance is critical for the detection of new aneurysms, especially among patients with CTD.

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