Background: Replacement of the aortic root with a prosthetic graft and valve in patients with Marfan's syndrome may prevent premature death from rupture of an aneurysm or aortic dissection. We reviewed the results of this surgical procedure at 10 experienced surgical centers.
Methods: A total of 675 patients with Marfan's syndrome underwent replacement of the aortic root. Survival and morbidity-free survival curves were calculated, and risk factors were determined from a multivariable regression analysis.
Results: The 30-day mortality rate was 1.5 percent among the 455 patients who underwent elective repair, 2.6 percent among the 117 patients who underwent urgent repair (within 7 days after a surgical consultation), and 11.7 percent among the 103 patients who underwent emergency repair (within 24 hours after a surgical consultation). Of the 675 patients, 202 (30 percent) had aortic dissection involving the ascending aorta. Forty-six percent of the 158 adult patients with aortic dissection and a documented aortic diameter had an aneurysm with a diameter of 6.5 cm or less. There were 114 late deaths (more than 30 days after surgery); dissection or rupture of the residual aorta (22 patients) and arrhythmia (21 patients) were the principal causes of late death. The risk of death was greatest within the first 60 days after surgery, then rapidly decreased to a constant level by the end of the first year.
Conclusions: Elective aortic-root replacement has a low operative mortality. In contrast, emergency repair, usually for acute aortic dissection, is associated with a much higher early mortality. Because nearly half the adult patients with aortic dissection had an aortic-root diameter of 6.5 cm or less at the time of operation, it may be prudent to undertake prophylactic repair of aortic aneurysms in patients with Marfan's syndrome when the diameter of the aorta is well below that size.