Frozen Elephant Trunk: An Alternative Surgical Weapon Against Extensive Thoracic Aorta Disease. A Three-Year Meta-Analysis

Heart Lung Circ. 2019 Feb;28(2):213-222. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2018.04.306. Epub 2018 Jun 11.


Background: Conventional open total arch replacement is the treatment of choice for surgical aortic arch pathologies. However, it is a two-stage procedure related to high cumulative and interval mortality rates. Hybrid type III aortic arch reconstruction, the so-called "frozen elephant trunk" is a one-stage alternative approach.

Methods: A meta-analysis and detailed review of the literature published from January 2013 until December 2016, concerning frozen elephant trunk hybrid approach was conducted and data for morbidity and mortality rates were extracted.

Results: Among 989 patients included, the pooled 30-day or in-hospital mortality rate was 5.04% (95%CI=1.13-10.74), stroke rate was 2.38% (95%CI=0.13-6.30), and the irreversible paraplegia due to spinal cord injury rate was 0.63% (95%CI=0.00-2.73). Finally, the pooled cumulative survival at 1year was remarkably high (86.7%, 95%CI=81.08-92.90).

Conclusions: Frozen elephant trunk is a safe alternative to conventional elephant trunk repair for extensive aortic arch pathologies with acceptable short- and mid-term results, avoiding the interval mortality hazard.

Keywords: Aortic arch; Frozen elephant trunk; Hybrid procedures.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / surgery*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation / methods*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome