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Ann Surg. 2006 Jun;243(6):815-20; discussion 820-3.

Thoracic aortic endografting is the treatment of choice for elderly patients with thoracic aortic disease.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.



To assess the effect of age on outcomes following thoracic aortic endografting.


Endograft therapy for thoracic aortic disease is rapidly evolving. This therapy is less invasive, and elderly patients with significant medical comorbidities are more frequently referred for endografting. We hypothesized that elderly patients over the age of 75 have worse outcomes after thoracic endografting than patients under the age of 75.


We retrospectively reviewed the charts of the first 42 patients who underwent endografting for thoracic aortic pathology. Charts were reviewed for demographics, comorbid conditions, perioperative complications and death, endoleaks, and results at 3, 6, and 12 months. Preexisting medical conditions were also evaluated to determine if any patient characteristics were associated with adverse outcomes. Perioperative morbidity included cardiac, pulmonary, renal, hemorrhagic, and neurologic (stroke and spinal cord injury) complications.


Twenty-four patients were under the age of 75, and 18 patients were 75 or older. Baseline demographics and comorbidities were similar between the 2 groups. There were no differences in operative time, length of stay, perioperative mortality, or the incidence of significant complications between the 2 age groups. Gender, however, was associated with a statistically significant difference between the occurrence of complications, with more women experiencing complications than men (P = 0.026, relative risk = 2.36). One patient (age >75 years) in the entire cohort of 42 (2.4%) suffered a spinal cord injury. At 3 months, endoleaks were more common in the older age group (P = 0.059).


Endograft therapy for thoracic aortic disease can be performed safely in elderly patients with no significant increase in perioperative morbidity or mortality compared with younger patients. Female gender is associated with a higher likelihood of perioperative complications, regardless of age. The overall incidence of spinal cord injury is very low. Endograft therapy, when anatomically possible, is the treatment of choice for thoracic aortic disease in elderly patients.

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