Objective: Repair of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (TAAAs) is performed for the improvement of long-term survival and the preservation of function. The determination of functional outcome and the identification of predictors of survival and functional recovery after TAAA repair are key to proper patient selection.
Methods: This retrospective review of clinical data was performed in an academic medical center. The demographics, Crawford aneurysm type (I-18, II-33, III-22, IV-28), preoperative risk factors, operative characteristics, and postoperative complications and outcomes were recorded from the medical records for 101 consecutive patients who underwent TAAA repair (58 elective and 43 urgent/emergent). Functional status and living situation at hospital discharge and 12 months after discharge were determined from follow-up examination records or telephone contact with surviving patients. The patients then were categorized into "good" (survival, home, discharge to rehabilitation center, ambulatory) or "bad" (death, discharge to or residence in a long-term care facility, non-ambulatory) outcomes.
Results: The postoperative mortality rate was 17.8% (10% in elective cases and 28% in urgent cases), and significant postoperative complications occurred in 77% of the cases (pulmonary complications in 41%, renal complications in 28%, and cord injury in 12%). The mean length of stay was 22.8 + 23.6 days, and at discharge, 80% of the patients were sent to home or rehabilitation and 20% were sent to long-term care facilities. At 1 year, 15 additional patients had died. All but two patients who had been initially discharged to rehabilitation had returned home, but only two patients who had been discharged to long-term care facilities had returned home and both were nonambulatory. Therefore, the survival rate at 1 year was 67%, and only 52.4% of the patients had a "good" outcome at 1 year (survival rate was 78% and rate of "good" outcome was 63% in patients who underwent elective TAAA repair). Independent predictors of postoperative death and "bad" outcome were age more than 75 years, preoperative heart disease, duration of visceral ischemia, use of left atrial femoral bypass graft, postoperative renal dysfunction, and number of organs failing after surgery.
Conclusion: Survival and good functional outcome after TAAA repair is significantly less common than expected and is primarily predicted with intraoperative factors and postoperative complications. Improved operative techniques and limitation of visceral ischemia reperfusion injury may improve outcome after TAAA repair.