A Systematic Review of the Use of Biochemical Markers in the Assessment of Spinal Cord Ischemia in Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Vasc Endovascular Surg. 2019 Apr;53(3):230-241. doi: 10.1177/1538574418814612. Epub 2018 Dec 20.


Introduction:: Despite advances in perioperative critical care and surgical technique, spinal cord ischemia remains a devastating complication of thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair. Biochemical markers present in peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be useful in assessing spinal cord injury. We systematically analyze and report the role of all reported biochemical markers that have been used in assessing and diagnosing spinal cord ischemia in thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair.

Methods:: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines were used for this review. Published literature was searched to identify all studies reporting on the use of biochemical markers in thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair in the assessment of spinal cord ischemia. Marker-specific and patient-specific data were extracted from all studies and where possible, subgroup analysis was performed on marker-specific data sets.

Results:: Fourteen studies of 321 patients undergoing thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair were eligible for further analysis. Seven distinct biochemical markers were used in both CSF and blood samples: S100B proteins (S100B), neurone-specific enolase, lactate dehydrogenase, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAp), neurofilament triplet protein (NFL) and Tau protein, and glucose. There was substantial evidence demonstrating the heightened levels of S100, NFL, and GFAp in CSF in patients with spinal cord ischemia. There is however, wide variability in the correlation of the same 6 biochemical markers in peripheral blood and spinal cord ischemia.

Conclusions:: In patients with spinal cord injury, dramatic rises occur with S100B, NFL, and GFAp in CSF. However, further work is needed if biochemical markers are to impact on the future of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair.

Keywords: GFAp; S100; biochemical markers; spinal cord ischemia; thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / blood
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / physiopathology
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / surgery*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects*
  • Endovascular Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / blood*
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers