Objectives: open surgical intervention for aneurysms of the distal arch and descending thoracic aorta is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Stent grafts offer an attractive alternative treatment for these aneurysms. The aim of this study was to assess the morbidity and mortality of endovascular treatment for these aneurysms with stent grafts.
Design, patients and methods: a prospective observational study was performed of 37 consecutive patients treated from July 1997 to October 2000 (30 at Guy's and St. Thomas' and 7 at Sheffield). Indications included degenerative aneurysms (n=18), false aneurysm (5), acute dissection (4), aortic transection (4), aneurysm related to previous surgery for coarctation (3), chronic dissection (2) and traumatic dissection (1). Nineteen were performed as elective and 18 as non-elective procedures.
Results: three non-elective patients died in hospital (in-hospital and 30-day mortality 8%) and one suffered a stroke with spontaneous full recovery. No elective patient died. One patient with a persistent proximal endoleak required conversion to open repair at 6 weeks. Two patients with persistent flow into the sac at 24 h spontaneously thrombosed at subsequent 3 month follow-up. Two further patients developed new distal endoleaks at 3 months and required distal extension cuffs. One patient died at 28 months of aortic rupture. Serial CT scans had shown prolapse of the stent graft into the aneurysm sac and the patient died just before planned endovascular repair. No patient suffered paraplegia or renal failure. Intensive care facilities were only required for patients who needed them preoperatively.
Conclusions: thoracic stent grafts can be performed with low morbidity and mortality. They offer a realistic alternative to open surgery. Long term follow up is required to assess their durability.
Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Limited.