Background: Hypothermic selective antegrade cerebral perfusion during aortic arch replacement may prevent adverse neurologic sequelae. It can be provided via balloon-tipped catheters or a branched graft sewn to the brachiocephalic vessels. We report a consecutive series of total arch replacement using a trifurcated graft.
Methods: From September 1999 through October 2004, 109 patients underwent nonemergent total arch replacement using this technique. The graft, placed during a period of hypothermic circulatory arrest, was used for selective cerebral perfusion during the arch reconstruction.
Results: Adverse outcomes were seen in 9 (8.3%) patients: hospital death in 5 (4.6%), and stroke in 5 (4.6%). Transient neurologic dysfunction was noted in 6 (5.5%) patients. Mean duration of hypothermic circulatory arrest was 31.2 +/- 6.6 minutes and selective cerebral perfusion was 65.3 +/- 20.9 minutes. Reoperation for bleeding was required in 3 (2.8%) patients and prolonged intubation in 15 (13.8%). Median intensive care unit stay was 3 days (interquartile range 2-4; range, 1 to 108) and hospital stay was 9 (interquartile range 8-15; range, 5 to 108).
Conclusions: The trifurcated graft technique results in low rates of perioperative mortality, temporary neurologic dysfunction, and stroke. It may reduce cerebral embolization as it requires no instrumentation of the aortic arch to establish selective cerebral perfusion and, although it mandates hypothermic circulatory arrest to place the graft, this interval is reliably brief enough to fall within accepted safe limits. This strategy leaves no residual arch tissue behind, and allows placement of an elephant trunk proximal to one or more arch vessels if anatomically indicated.