Endovascular Treatment of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms


Address for correspondence: Kenneth Ouriel, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.C.C., Chairman, Department of Vascular Surgery, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Desk S40, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA. Fax: 216 445-6302; e-mail: ourielk@ccf.org


Abstract  Endovascular repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms is a promising modality that may someday replace open surgical repair. While stent grafts have been used with moderate success in small to moderate-sized retrospective series, there have been no completed multicenter clinical trials directed at gaining approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The available data suggest that morbidity and mortality of the procedure may be lowered with endovascular techniques. Paraplegia occurs, but despite the inability to maintain perfusion of intercostal vessels, the rate is at least as low as that associated with open repair. Similar to the minimally invasive repair of infrarenal aneurysms, the trade-off between the open and endovascular approach rests in the necessity to follow patients closely with after endovascular repair. The long-term durability of available devices is unproved, and serial imaging studies must be followed in order to detect device failure prior to the development of devastating clinical sequelae.