The classic elephant trunk technique for staged thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic repair: Long-term results

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Abstract

Objective:

The classic elephant trunk (ET) technique has become the standard approach for patients with diffuse aortic disease requiring a staged thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic repair. The aim of this study was to assess long-term outcomes and predictors for survival after surgical repair of extensive thoracic aortic disease with the ET technique.

Methods:

Between 1984 and 2013, 248 consecutive patients were treated in our institution and analyzed retrospectively. Follow-up consisted of outpatient clinic visits including postoperative computed tomography imaging at 3 months and annually thereafter. Second-stage intervention was indicated if the diameter of the descending or thoracoabdominal aorta was greater than or equal to 60 mm, in case of a rapidly growing aneurysm and/or symptoms.

Results:

Mean age was 65 ± 10 years; 44% were male. After first-stage ET, in-hospital mortality was 8% and permanent neurologic deficits were observed in 2% of patients. Median follow-up after the first stage was 48 months (range, 1-210 months). One hundred twelve patients (45%) underwent second-stage ET. Overall survival after first-stage ET was 75% and 67% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Survival in patients with second-stage ET was 87%, compared with 65% in the group who did not undergo second-stage ET at the 5-year follow-up (P < .001) and 67% compared with 36% at the 10-year follow-up (P < .001). Predictor for mortality was the absence of second-stage ET (P = .044).

Conclusions:

A 2-stage approach for diffuse aortic disease is a safe method. The acceptable mortality at the first stage justifies the use of the classic ET technique and allows subsequent repair of the distal aorta. Long-term survival is increased when both stages are completed.

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