Influences on Early and Medium-Term Survival Following Surgical Repair of the Aortic Arch

Aorta (Stamford). 2014 Apr 1;2(2):56-73. doi: 10.12945/j.aorta.2014.13-040. eCollection 2014 Apr.


Objectives: It is now well established by many groups that surgery on the aortic arch may be achieved with consistently low morbidity and mortality along with relatively good survival compared to estimated natural history for a number of aortic arch pathologies. The objectives of this study were to: 1) report, compare, and analyze our morbidity and mortality outcomes for hemiarch and total aortic arch surgery; 2) examine the survival benefit of hemiarch and total aortic arch surgery compared to age- and sex-matched controls; and 3) define factors which influence survival in these two groups and, in particular, identify those that are modifiable and potentially actionable.

Methods: Outcomes from patients undergoing surgical resection of both hemiarch and total aortic arch at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital between June 1999 and December 2012 were examined in a retrospective analysis of data collected for The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgeons (UK).

Results: Over the period studied, a total of 1240 patients underwent aortic surgery, from which 287 were identified as having undergone hemi to total aortic arch surgery under deep or moderate hypothermic circulatory arrest. Twenty three percent of patients' surgeries were nonelective. The median age at the time of patients undergoing elective hemiarch was 64.3 years and total arch was 65.3 years (P = 0.25), with 40.1% being female in the entire group. A total of 140 patients underwent elective hemiarch replacement, while 81 underwent elective total arch replacement. Etiology of the aortic pathology was degenerative in 51.2% of the two groups, with 87.1% requiring aortic valve repair in the elective hemiarch group and 64.2% in the elective total arch group (P < 0.001). Elective in-hospital mortality was 2.1% in the hemiarch group and 6.2% (P = 0.15) in the total arch group with corresponding rates of stroke (2.9% versus 4.9%, P = 0.47), renal failure (4.3% versus 6.2%, P = 0.54), reexploration for bleeding (4.3% versus 4.9%, P > 0.99), and prolonged ventilation (8.6% versus 16.1%, P = 0.09). Overall mortality was 20.9% at 5 years, while it was 15.7% in the elective hemiarch and 25.9% in the total arch group (P = 0.065). Process control charts demonstrated stability of annualized mortality outcomes over the study period. Survival curve was flat and parallel compared to age- and sex-matched controls beyond 2 years. Multivariate analysis demonstrated the following independent factors associated with survival: renal dysfunction [hazard ratio (HR) = 3.11; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.44-6.73], New York Heart Association (NYHA) class ≥ III (HR = 2.25; 95% CI = 1.38-3.67), circulatory arrest time > 100 minutes (HR = 2.92; 95% CI = 1.57-5.43), peripheral vascular disease (HR = 2.44; 95% CI = 1.25-4.74), and concomitant coronary artery bypass graft operation (HR = 2.14; 95% CI = 1.20-3.80).

Conclusions: Morbidity, mortality, and medium-term survival were not statistically different for patients undergoing elective hemi-aortic arch and total aortic arch surgery. The survival curve in this group of patients is flat and parallel to sex- and age-matched controls beyond 2 years. Multivariate analysis identified independent influences on survival as renal dysfunction, NYHA class ≥ III, circulatory arrest time (> 100 min), peripheral vascular disease, and concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting. Focus on preoperative optimization of some of these variables may positively influence long-term survival.

Keywords: Aneurysm; Aneurysm surgery; Aortic arch; Long-term survival; Survival.