Caution: Air Embolism Related to Heli-Fx EndoAnchor System in Zone 2 Thoracic Aneurysm Repair

J Endovasc Ther. 2022 Oct;29(5):808-812. doi: 10.1177/15266028211062562. Epub 2021 Dec 2.


Purpose: We report a case of significant air embolization to the ascending aorta immediately following deployment of EndoAnchors in the aortic arch during a procedure to correct a type 1A endoleak.

Case report: The novel Heli-Fx EndoAnchor system (Medtronic Vascular, Santa Rosa, CA, USA) was used to deploy helical anchors in the distal aortic arch during a procedure to correct a type 1A endoleak following Zone 2 thoracic endovascular aortic repair of a saccular proximal descending thoracic aorta aneurysm (DTAA). The patient developed ST-segment elevations principally in the inferior leads and severe hypotension moments after EndoAnchor deployment at the proximal edge of the endograft. Transesophageal echocardiogram revealed severe right ventricular hypokinesis and a large amount of air in the ascending aorta. Subsequent management and clinical and radiological 30-day follow-up is presented in addition to a review of the literature and ex vivo testing with the Heli-Fx system to examine potential causes and solutions.

Conclusion: Precautions, such as pressurized saline infusion to the side port of guiding sheath, should be used whenever manipulating catheters and sheaths such as the EndoAnchor system in the aortic arch to prevent this potentially lethal complication.

Keywords: EndoAnchors; Heli-Fx; air embolism; complications; endoleak; thoracic endovascular aortic repair.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta, Thoracic
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / surgery
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic* / complications
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic* / surgery
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis / adverse effects
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation* / adverse effects
  • Embolism, Air* / diagnostic imaging
  • Embolism, Air* / etiology
  • Embolism, Air* / therapy
  • Endoleak / etiology
  • Endovascular Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome