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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2003 April;44(2):243-8


language: English

Progress in the treatment of aneurysms of the distal aortic arch: approach through median sternotomy

Niinami H., Aomi S., Chikazawa G., Tomioka H., Koyanagi H.

Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, The Heart Institute of Japan, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo, Japan


Aim. A review of past and current operative procedures for the treatment of aneurysms of the distal aortic arch is presented in conjunction with a series of 43 patients. In this study, distal aortic arch aneurysm refers to an aneurysm involving at least the origin of the left subclavian artery, but not extending beyond the left common carotid artery. We excluded dissection aneurysm and extended aneurysm to the descending thoracic aorta from this study.
Methods. Between January, 1985, and March, 2000, 43 consecutive patients (37 males, 6 females; mean age 67.5 years) underwent repair of aneurysms of the distal aortic arch. The approach to the aneurysm was through a left thoracotomy in 4 patients and a median sternotomy in 39 patients, including an additional left thoracotomy continued to a median sternotomy in 2 patients. The supportive methods during surgery were left heart bypass using a centrifugal pump in 4 patients (LHB group), cardiopulmonary bypass with selective cerebral perfusion in 11 patients (SCP group), and cardiopulmonary bypass with continuous retrograde cerebral perfusion in 28 patients (RCP group). In the RCP group, the “aortic no-touch technique” was applied in 21 patients. The operative methods were patch closure in 4 patients, graft replacement of the distal arch using the inclusion technique in 14 patients, and total arch replacement using the exclusion technique in 25 patients.
Results. There were 5 hospital deaths: 1 patient in the LHB group, intractable bleeding; 1 patient in the SCP group, rupture of the distal anastomosis; 3 patients in the RCP group, stroke, rupture of the dissection arising from the distal anastomosis, and perioperative myocardial infarction. Stroke occurred in 1 patient (25%) with LHB, 3 patients (27.2%) with SCP, and 1 patient (3.6%) with RCP. Among the postoperative survivors, a new onset of left recurrent nerve palsy occurred in 2 patients (66.7%) with LHB, 1 patient (10%) with SCP, and in 1 patient (4%) with RCP. No neurological injury or left recurrent nerve palsy occurred in the patients who underwent the “aortic no-touch technique”.
Conclusion. Total arch replacement with the graft exclusion technique under profound hypothermic circulatory arrest using RCP through the median sternotomy is a promising surgical treatment for atherosclerotic distal aortic arch aneurysm. The “aortic no-touch technique” further improved the surgical results of the distal aortic arch aneurysm.

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