Mortality and reoperations in survivors operated on for acute type A aortic dissection and implications for catheter-based or hybrid interventions

J Vasc Surg. 2013 Aug;58(2):333-339.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2012.12.078. Epub 2013 Apr 6.


Objective: This study investigated late outcomes (mortality, reoperations) and their associated predictors after operations for acute type A aortic dissection. The role catheter-based and hybrid interventions is discussed.

Methods: All hospital survivors operated on for acute type A aortic dissection from 1990 through 2009 were reviewed, with cross-sectional follow-up. Mortality (overall and aortic) and freedom from reoperations (proximal and distal) were estimated using actuarial methods. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative variables (n = 44) associated with late outcomes were analyzed with univariable and multivariable (Cox) statistical methods.

Results: Of 360 operated-on patients, 291 hospital survivors (81%) were monitored for a median of 5.5 years (1864 patient-years). Total late mortality was 30% (n = 86), with estimated (standard error) survival of 82% (3%), 64% (4%), and 48% (6%) at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. Aortic events accounted for at least 27% (up to 42% including unknown causes) of late deaths. In Cox analysis, variables independently related (hazard ratios [95% confidence limits]) to late mortality were increased age (1.6 per 10 years [1.3, 2.0]), earlier operation (<2005; 2.3 [1.2, 4.6]), permanent neurologic damage (2.6 [1.6, 4.2]), and respiratory insufficiency (3.4 [1.8, 6.4]). Thirty-four patients underwent 46 reoperations, 21 on the proximal and 25 on the distal aorta, up to 19 years after the primary operation; respective in-hospital reoperative mortality was 14% and 12%. Estimated freedom (standard error) from aortic reoperation was 95% (2%), 87% (4%), and 61% (5%) at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. In multivariable Cox analysis (hazard ratios [95% confidence limits]), use of surgical adhesive at the primary operation (4.2 [1.6, 11]) and temporary neurologic damage (3.2l [1.2, 8.9]) were independently related to proximal reoperation, and DeBakey type I dissection (10.5 [1.4, 80]) was related to late distal reoperation. Catheter-based (endovascular, percutaneous) or hybrid procedures were not used in any patients but could have been used in up to 74% of reoperations, including in four of six of those that resulted in in-hospital death and putatively in 10 of 17 patients who sustained lethal aortic events without reoperation.

Conclusions: Despite close follow-up, aortic-related death after a successful operation for acute type A aortic dissection is prevalent, and overall mortality remains substantial. Reoperations are not uncommon, may be indicated very late as well as repeatedly in the same patient, and are associated with a significant mortality. Increased use of applicable but seemingly under-used catheter-based or hybrid treatment approaches could benefit this growing patient population by offering repeat intervention to more patients and as substitute for reoperative open surgery in selected cases.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Aortic Aneurysm / mortality
  • Aortic Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Aortic Dissection / mortality
  • Aortic Dissection / surgery*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation / mortality*
  • Cause of Death
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endovascular Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Endovascular Procedures / mortality*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome