Endovascular Approaches to Complex Thoracic Aortic Disease

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Abstract

Diseases of the thoracic aorta remain among the most lethal and difficult to treat conditions. In 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first endoprosthesis for the treatment of aneurysms of the descending thoracic aorta; at present, there are 3 thoracic devices approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Although approved only for the treatment of descending aneurysms, thoracic endografting has other potential off-label applications, including acute and chronic aortic dissection and traumatic aortic transection. Endovascular repair of thoracic aortic pathology is emerging as the preferred treatment strategy in certain patients, as increasing data suggest that endovascular repair may be performed with lower perioperative morbidity and mortality rates and similar midterm survival, when compared with standard open repair. However, because of anatomic constraints related to required endograft seal zones, a significant number of patients are excluded from standard endovascular repair. Hybrid techniques, including open aortic arch and thoracoabdominal debranching procedures, have been described to allow creation of proximal and/or distal landing zones for the stent graft seal. This review describes the surgical and anesthetic considerations relevant to thoracic endografting, with an emphasis on hybrid procedures used to treat more complex thoracic aortic pathology. Hybrid techniques may be performed with lower rates of morbidity and mortality than conventional open repair, and they appear to be a safe alternative to open repair for thoracoabdominal and aortic arch aneurysms in properly selected patients with significant comorbidity or prior open aortic surgery.

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