Purpose: The purpose of this study was to retrospectively identify variables associated with early death and postoperative complications in patients undergoing thoracoabdominal aortic operations.
Methods: The data on 1509 patients who underwent 1679 thoracoabdominal aortic repairs between 1960 and 1991 were retrospectively reviewed. The median age was 66 years (range 1.5 years to 86 years), and aortic dissection was present in 276 (18%) patients. The extent of the first repair performed included 378 (25%) type I (proximal descending to upper abdominal aorta), 442 (29%) type II (proximal descending aorta to below the renal arteries), 343 (23%) type III (distal descending and abdominal aorta), and 346 (23%) type IV (most of the abdominal aorta). The median total aortic clamp time was 43 minutes.
Results: The 30-day survival rate was 92% (1386/1509) for the 30-year period. On multivariate analysis the preoperative and operative variables associated with death included (p < 0.05) increasing age, preoperative creatinine level, concurrent proximal aortic aneurysms, coronary artery disease, chronic lung disease, and total aortic clamp time. When the postoperative variables were also included in the stepwise logistic regression model, then in addition, cardiac complications, stroke, kidney failure, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage became significant (p < 0.05). The overall incidence of paraplegia or paraparesis was 16% (234/1509). By use of stepwise logistic regression analysis, the significant predictors (p < 0.05) of paraplegia or paraparesis developing were total aortic clamp time, extent of aorta repaired, aortic rupture, patient age, proximal aortic aneurysm, and history of renal dysfunction. Kidney failure (postoperative creatinine level > 3 mg/dl or dialysis) occurred in 18% (269/1509) of patients; dialysis was required in 9% (136/1509). Gastrointestinal complications manifested in 7% (101/1509) of patients.
Conclusion: Although the survival rate has improved, paraplegia/paraparesis and kidney failure continue to be vexing problems that require further research.