Purpose: Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were monitored during thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA) repair to assess spinal cord ischemia and evaluate the subsequent protective strategies to prevent neurologic deficit. Methods: Between January 1996 and December 1997, 52 consecutive patients with type I (n = 24) and type II (n = 28) TAAA underwent surgery (mean patient age, 60 years; range, 21-78 years). The surgical protocol included left heart bypass, cerebrospinal fluid drainage, and monitoring transcranial myogenic MEPs. When spinal cord ischemia was detected, distal aortic pressure and mean arterial pressure were increased. By means of sequential crossclamping, MEPs were used to identify critical intercostal or lumbar arteries. Results: Reproducible MEPs could be recorded in all patients, and spinal cord ischemia was detected within 2 minutes. During distal aortic perfusion, 14 patients (27%) showed rapid decrease in the amplitude of MEPs to less than 25% of baseline, indicating spinal cord ischemia, which could be corrected by increasing distal aortic pressure. The mean distal aortic pressure to maintain adequate cord perfusion was 66 mm Hg; however, it varied among individuals between 48 and 110 mm Hg. In 24 patients (46%), MEPs disappeared after segmental clamping and returned after reattachment of intercostal arteries. In 9 patients (17%), MEPs disappeared completely, but no intercostal arteries were found. After aortic endarterectomy, 6 or 8 mm Dacron grafts were anastomosed to intercostal arteries, and MEPs returned after reperfusion. Using this aggressive surgical approach based on MEPs, no early or late paraplegia occurred in this series. Conclusion: Monitoring of MEPs is an effective technique to assess spinal cord ischemia. Operative strategies based on MEPs prevented neurologic deficits in patients treated for type I and II TAAA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine