Aortic shape variation after frozen elephant trunk procedure predicts aortic events: Principal component analysis study

JTCVS Open. 2023 Feb 2:14:26-35. doi: 10.1016/j.xjon.2023.01.015. eCollection 2023 Jun.


Objective: The frozen elephant trunk procedure is a well-established technique for the repair of type A ascending aortic dissection and complex aortic arch pathology. The ultimate shape created by the repair may have consequences in long-term complications. The purpose of this study was to apply a machine learning technique to comprehensively describe 3-dimensional aortic shape variations after the frozen elephant trunk procedure and associate these variations with aortic events.

Methods: Computed tomography angiography acquired before discharge of patients (n = 93) who underwent the frozen elephant trunk procedure for type A ascending aortic dissection or ascending aortic arch aneurysm was preprocessed to yield patient-specific aortic models and centerlines. Aortic centerlines were subjected to principal component analysis to describe principal components and aortic shape modulators. Patient-specific shape scores were correlated with outcomes defined by composite aortic event, including aortic rupture, aortic root dissection or pseudoaneurysm, new type B dissection, new thoracic or thoracoabdominal pathologies, residual descending aortic dissection with residual false lumen flow, or thoracic endovascular aortic repair complications.

Results: The first 3 principal components accounted for 36.4%, 26.4%, and 11.6% of aortic shape variance, respectively, and cumulatively for 74.5% of the total shape variation in all patients. The first principal component described variation in arch height-to-length ratio, the second principal component described angle at the isthmus, and the third principal component described variation in anterior-to-posterior arch tilt. Twenty-one aortic events (22.6%) were encountered. The degree of aortic angle at the isthmus described by the second principal component was associated with aortic events in logistic regression (hazard ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.97-0.99; P = .046).

Conclusions: The second principal component, describing angulation at the region of the aortic isthmus, was associated with adverse aortic events. Observed shape variation should be evaluated in the context of aortic biomechanical properties and flow hemodynamics.

Keywords: frozen elephant trunk; principal component analysis; shape; sorta.