Diseases of the thoracic aorta pose a significant challenge to the surgeon because of the complexity of the disease and the characteristics of the patient population. Frequent comorbidities and increasing age account for mortality rates between 5% and 20% for surgical repair of descending thoracic aortic aneurysms and in excess of 50% for Stanford type B aortic dissections, when complicated by preoperative end-organ ischemia. Endovascular techniques of fenestration, stenting, and stent-grafting have emerged as viable alternatives to conventional surgery in these patients. The authors review their experience using endovascular stent-grafts in the treatment of 103 patients with descending thoracic aortic aneurysms and 19 patients with acute aortic dissections. Fenestration and stenting are also addressed as adjuvant therapies in the treatment of complicated aortic dissections. Actuarial survival for aneurysms was 81% +/- 5% at 1 year and 73% +/- 5% at 2 years. Stent-grafting for acute aortic dissections achieved instant relief of symptoms in 71% of cases with an early procedural mortality of 16%, and endovascular revascularization of ischemic beds was achieved in 93% +/- 4% of cases of peripheral or visceral ischemia. The authors' experience supports the use of endovascular techniques in the treatment of thoracic aortic pathologic conditions. Longer follow-up and results of ongoing trials that use newer devices will help define the indications for their future use.
View details for PubMedID 11156057