Between January 13, 1987, and December 31, 1993, 227 patients were treated surgically for aortic disease involving the transverse aortic arch. Forty-eight patients (21.14%) had acute aortic dissection (group A), 69 (30.40%) had chronic dissection (group B), and 110 (48.46%) had nondissecting fusiform or saccular aneurysms (group C). The replacement of the transverse arch involved 194 graft replacements, 27 elephant trunk procedures, and 6 patch graft repairs. Concomitantly, 22 patients had aortic valve resuspension, 18 patients had composite valve graft insertions, and 75 had separate aortic valve replacement. The frequency of prior cardiac operation was 20.83% (10 patients) in group A, 69.57% (48 patients) in group B, and 15.45% (17 patients) in group C. Profound hypothermic circulatory arrest was used in all patients during their transverse arch procedures. The mean circulatory arrest times (in minutes) were 29.18 +/- 1.39, 36.62 +/- 1.91, and 29.25 +/- 1.46 for groups A, B, and C, respectively. Retrograde cerebral perfusion through the superior vena cava cannula was used in 111 (48.9%) patients during the circulatory arrest period. In-hospital mortality was 6.17% (14 deaths). Long-term follow-up was 100% complete. There were 20 late deaths, with a long-term mortality rate of 9.26% (20/216).