Follow-up results of aortic arch cervical debranching performed with the help of a temporary crossover external carotid artery bypass for cerebral protection followed by endovascular thoracic aortic aneurysm repair

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2020 May 1;30(5):724-731. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivaa004.


Objectives: Treating aortic arch aneurysms with conventional open surgical and endovascular stent graft procedures is challenging due to the complex anatomy of the arch and the arteries arising from it that nourish the brain. Cerebral protection is of the utmost importance during the treatment of thoracic aneurysms involving the aortic arch.

Methods: Between May 2014 and November 2018, 7 patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms involving the aortic arch who underwent aortic arch cervical debranching with our technique were reviewed retrospectively. Because all the patients being considered for conventional surgical aortic arch replacement had serious comorbidities, they were selected to receive hybrid therapy. The mean age of the patients was 71.2 ± 9.4 years. One patient was a woman and 6 patients were men. One patient was given general anaesthesia; the remaining 6 patients had a regional block. A crossover temporary bypass was performed between the external carotid arteries with a 6-mm polytetrafluoroethylene graft for cerebral protection in all patients. Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) was successfully performed in all patients except 1 following debranching.

Results: Neurological complications did not occur during the procedures. Patients were followed for a mean of 18.3 ± 4.9 months. One female patient died of exacerbating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease within the first follow-up year. Three other patients died: 1 died of natural causes; 1 died of pneumonia followed by multiorgan failure; and 1 died of myocardial infarction during the mid-term follow-up period. The remaining patients are still being followed and are event free.

Conclusions: Endovascular treatment of thoracic aortic diseases involving the aortic arch is facilitated when the aortic arch is debranched. Our cerebral protection method with a temporary crossover bypass between the external carotid arteries provides continuous pulsatile blood flow to the brain; hence, neurologically, it is a reliable procedure. The follow-up results of the patients who underwent aortic arch cervical debranching followed by TEVAR depended on their comorbidities.

Keywords: Cerebral protection; Debranching; Endovascular stent graft repair; Hybrid procedure; Thoracic aortic arch aneurysm.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / diagnosis
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / surgery*
  • Aortic Dissection / diagnosis
  • Aortic Dissection / surgery*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation / methods*
  • Carotid Artery, External / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, External / surgery*
  • Computed Tomography Angiography / methods
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies