Aortic arch isolation to reduce cerebral embolic risk during replacement of the atherosclerotic aortic arch

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2022 Apr 25;S0022-5223(22)00495-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2022.04.018. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To analyze the efficacy of isolating the upper body circulation from the lower body (isolation technique) in reducing the risk of embolic stroke during cardiopulmonary bypass in patients with severe atherosclerosis undergoing aortic arch surgery.

Methods: Between 2006 and 2019, 156 patients with severe atherosclerosis undergoing total arch replacement were enrolled. Since 2017, the right axillary or innominate artery and ascending aorta were both cannulated before cardiopulmonary bypass in the isolation group (n = 30). The left common carotid artery was clamped and inserted with a 13-Fr balloon perfusion catheter. The innominate artery was clamped in succession and cardiopulmonary bypass was instituted, establishing a parallel noncommunicating circulation for the upper and lower body. Patients without atherosclerosis that were not considered at high risk of embolic complications were excluded. The no-isolation group was drawn from historically matched control patients undergoing total arch replacement.

Results: The permanent stroke rate in the isolation and no-isolation groups were 3.3% (n = 1) and 15.9% (n = 15.9), respectively. After inverse-probability-of-treatment-weighting adjustment, the early mortality (P = .043), stroke (P = .044), and composite of early mortality or stroke (P = .005) rates were significantly lower in the isolation group. The logistic regression analysis after inverse-probability-of-treatment-weighting risk adjustment showed a significantly reduced composite risk of early death and stroke in the isolation group (odds ratio, 0.09; 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.70; P = .023).

Conclusions: The isolation technique was associated with a significant reduction in early postoperative embolic stroke and mortality risks in patients with severe aortic atherosclerosis undergoing total arch replacement.

Keywords: aneurysm; aortic arch; atherosclerosis; stroke; total arch replacement.