Background: Development of surgical therapy for aortic aneurysms and dissections has led to treatment of the life-threatening cardiovascular complications associated with Marfan syndrome. The present study determines the effect of surgical therapy on the life expectancy of patients with Marfan syndrome and the clinical course of these patients after aortic aneurysm repair.
Methods and results: Medical records were reviewed on 192 patients with Marfan syndrome who underwent aortic aneurysm repair during the past 26 years; 103 patients were interviewed, and complete preoperative and postoperative medical information was obtained. Survival curves were generated, and data were analyzed. The median cumulative probability of survival was 61 years, significantly increased compared with the median survival of 47 years for patients with Marfan syndrome determined 30 years ago (P < .0006). The majority of patients (53%) had second surgeries to repair subsequent aneurysms or dissections at other sites, the vast majority of which involved the aorta. The most common pattern of aneurysm repair was proximal ascending aortic aneurysm repair, followed by descending thoracic aneurysm surgery. The following variables predicted patients requiring second vascular surgeries: presence of acute or chronic dissection at the time of the first surgery, hypertension after the first surgery, and a history of smoking.
Conclusions: The life expectancy of patients with Marfan syndrome undergoing surgical repair of aortic aneurysms has improved and is consistent with increased survival. After initial repair of an ascending aortic aneurysm, a significant number of patients have subsequent surgeries at other sites throughout the aorta, indicating Marfan syndrome is a disease involving the entire aorta. Patients who had a dissection at the time of the first aortic surgery were more likely to require subsequent aortic surgery than were patients who underwent prophylactic composite graft repair of an aortic aneurysm.