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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(1):CD003635.

Cerebrospinal fluid drainage for thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm surgery.

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  • 1Dept. of Surgery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, NE2 4HH.



During aortic aneurysm surgery, cross-clamping can lead to inadequate blood supply to the spinal cord resulting in neurological deficit. Cerebrospinal fluid drainage (CSFD) may increase the perfusion pressure to the spinal cord and hence reduce the risk of ischaemic spinal cord injury.


To determine the effect of CSFD during thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA) surgery on the risk of developing spinal cord injury.


The reviewers searched the Cochrane Peripheral Vascular Diseases Group Specialised Trials Register (last searched October 2003), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) database (last searched Issue 4, 2003), MEDLINE and EMBASE, and reference lists of relevant articles. Recent conference proceedings were scanned.


Randomised trials involving CSFD during thoracic and TAAA surgery.


Both reviewers assessed the quality of trials independently. One reviewer (SNK) extracted data and the other reviewer (GS) verified the data.


Three trials, with a total of 287 participants operated on for type I or II TAAA, were included. In the first trial of 98 patients, neurological deficits in the lower extremities occurred in 14 (30%) CSFD and 17 (33%) controls. The deficit was observed within 24 hours of the operation in 21 (68%), and from 3 to 22 days in 10 (32%). CSFD did not have a significant benefit in preventing ischaemic injury to the spinal cord. The second trial of 33 patients used a combination of CSFD and intrathecal papaverine. It showed a statistically significant reduction in the rate of postoperative neurological deficit (p = 0.039), compared to controls. Analysis was undertaken after only one third of the estimated sample size had entered the trial. In the third trial TAAA repair was performed on 145 patients. CSFD was initiated during the operation and continued for 48 hours after surgery. Paraplegia or paraparesis occurred in 9 of 74 patients (12.2%) in the control group versus 2 of 82 patients (2.7%) with CSFD (p = 0.03). Overall, CSFD resulted in an 80% reduction in the relative risk of postoperative deficits. Meta-analysis showed an odds ratio (OR) of 0.48 (0.25 to 0.92; confidence interval (CI) 95%). For CSFD trials only OR was 0.57 (0.28 to 1.17) and for intention-to-treat in CSFD only studies OR remained unchanged.


There are limited data supporting the role of CSFD in thoracic and thoracoabdominal aneurysm surgery for prevention of neurological injury. Further clinical and experimental studies are indicated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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