The frozen elephant trunk (FET) technique is an established therapeutic option in the treatment of complex aortic diseases. We report our long-term clinical outcomes after FET repair. A total of 187 consecutive patients underwent FET repair at our department between 8/2005 and 3/2023. Indications included acute and chronic aortic dissections and thoracic aneurysms. Endpoints included operative morbidity and mortality, long-term survival, and the need for reinterventions. Operative mortality, spinal cord injury and permanent stroke rates were: 9.6%, 2.7% and 10.2%, respectively. At five years, overall survival was 69.9 ± 3.9% and freedom from aortic-related death was 82.5 ± 3.0%, whereas at ten years, overall survival was 53.0 ± 5.5% and freedom from aortic-related death was 75.8 ± 4.8%. Sixty-one reinterventions on the thoracic aorta were necessary. Freedom from secondary interventions at ten years was 44.7 ± 6.4% overall (63.1 ± 10.0% for acute dissections, 40.8 ± 10.3% for chronic dissections and 28.9 ± 13.1% for aneurysms, respectively). The high reintervention rate for chronic dissections and for aneurysms is related to the pre-existing aortic pathology. Late aortic growth of untreated segments with potentially fatal outcome occurs even after ten years, so careful annual follow-up is mandatory in this patient cohort.
Keywords: aortic aneurysm; aortic arch; aortic dissection; frozen elephant trunk.