Importance of intercostal artery reattachment during thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair

H. J. Sail, C. C. Miller, C. Carr, D. C. Iliopoulos, D. A. Dorsay, J. C. Baldwin, G. A. Sicard, H. J. Safi, L. H. Hollier, G. M. Williams

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229 Scopus citations


Purpose: We studied the relationship of neurologic deficit to ligation, reimplantation, and preexisting occlusion of intercostal arteries to determine which arteries and consequent management are most critical to outcome in thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair. Methods: From February 1991 to July 1996, 343 patients with thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms underwent repair by one surgeon. In this study, only Crawford types I, II, and III (n = 264) were considered. Of these, 110 (42%) were type I, 116 (44%) type II, and 38 (14%) type III. The adjuncts of distal aortic perfusion and cerebrospinal fluid drainage were used in 164 patients (62%). Data were analyzed by contingency table and by multiple logistic regression. Results: Early neurologic deficit occurred in 23 patients (8.7%), and late deficit in 10 patients (3.8%). Neurologic deficit in patients with at least one reimplantation and no ligation of arteries T11 or T12 occurred in 19 of 147 (12.9%). Neurologic deficit for occlusion of the same arteries occurred in 11 of 111 (9.9%), whereas for ligation of T11 and T12 neurologic deficit occurred in three of six (50%; reimplantation, p < 0.03; occlusion, p < 0.006). In addition, reimplantation of intercostal arteries T9 or T10 was significantly associated with reduced late neurologic deficit in multivariate analysis (p = 0.05). No other intercostal artery status was associated with modification of the neurologic deficit rate. Multivariate analysis showed type II aneurysms and acute dissections to be significantly associated with an increased risk of postoperative neurologic deficit (p < 0.0009, 0.002, respectively). Adjuncts were protective (p < 0.007), most often in types II and III (14.1% neurologic deficit in type II with adjunct, 35.3% without; 0% in type III with adjunct, 20% without). Conclusion: Patients with patent arteries at the T11/T12 level have highly variable outcomes depending on whether the arteries are reattached or ligated. Our data suggest that reimplantation of thoracic intercostal arteries T11 and T12 is indicated when these arteries are patent. Reimplantation of T9 and T10 lowers the risk of late neurologic deficit, probably by decreasing the spinal cord's vulnerability to changes in blood and cerebrospinal fluid pressure in the days after surgery. Adjuncts lower overall risk and provide adequate time for targeted intercostal artery reimplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-68
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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