Objective: To predict spinal cord ischemia after endovascular stent graft repair of descending thoracic aortic aneurysms, temporary interruption of the intercostal arteries (including the aneurysm) was performed by placement of a novel retrievable stent graft (Retriever) in the aorta under evoked spinal cord potential monitoring.
Methods: From February 1995 to October 1997, endovascular stent graft repair of descending thoracic aortic aneurysms was performed in 49 patients after informed consent was obtained. In 16 patients with aneurysms located in the middle and distal segment of the descending aorta, the Retriever was placed temporarily before stent graft deployment. The Retriever consisted of two units of self-expanding zigzag stents connected in tandem with stainless steel struts. Each strut was collected in a bundle fixed to a pushing rod, and the stent framework was lined with an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene sheet. The Retriever was delivered beyond the aneurysm through a sheath and was retracted into the sheath 20 minutes later. A stent graft for permanent use was deployed in patients whose predeployment test results with the Retriever were favorable. Evoked spinal cord potential was monitored throughout placement of the Retriever and stent grafting until the next day.
Results: The Retriever was placed in 17 aneurysms in 16 patients. There were no changes in amplitude or latency of evoked spinal cord potential records obtained before or during Retriever placement. After withdrawal of the Retriever, all aneurysms were excluded from circulation immediately after permanent stent grafting. There were no changes in evoked spinal cord potential, nor were neurologic deficits seen after stent graft deployment in any patient.
Conclusions: These results suggest that predeployment testing with the Retriever under evoked spinal cord potential monitoring is promising as a predictor of spinal cord ischemia in candidates for stent graft repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms.