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J Vasc Surg. 2013 Aug;58(2):333-339.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2012.12.078. Epub 2013 Apr 6.

Mortality and reoperations in survivors operated on for acute type A aortic dissection and implications for catheter-based or hybrid interventions.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit, The Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



This study investigated late outcomes (mortality, reoperations) and their associated predictors after operations for acute type A aortic dissection. The role catheter-based and hybrid interventions is discussed.


All hospital survivors operated on for acute type A aortic dissection from 1990 through 2009 were reviewed, with cross-sectional follow-up. Mortality (overall and aortic) and freedom from reoperations (proximal and distal) were estimated using actuarial methods. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative variables (n = 44) associated with late outcomes were analyzed with univariable and multivariable (Cox) statistical methods.


Of 360 operated-on patients, 291 hospital survivors (81%) were monitored for a median of 5.5 years (1864 patient-years). Total late mortality was 30% (n = 86), with estimated (standard error) survival of 82% (3%), 64% (4%), and 48% (6%) at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. Aortic events accounted for at least 27% (up to 42% including unknown causes) of late deaths. In Cox analysis, variables independently related (hazard ratios [95% confidence limits]) to late mortality were increased age (1.6 per 10 years [1.3, 2.0]), earlier operation (<2005; 2.3 [1.2, 4.6]), permanent neurologic damage (2.6 [1.6, 4.2]), and respiratory insufficiency (3.4 [1.8, 6.4]). Thirty-four patients underwent 46 reoperations, 21 on the proximal and 25 on the distal aorta, up to 19 years after the primary operation; respective in-hospital reoperative mortality was 14% and 12%. Estimated freedom (standard error) from aortic reoperation was 95% (2%), 87% (4%), and 61% (5%) at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. In multivariable Cox analysis (hazard ratios [95% confidence limits]), use of surgical adhesive at the primary operation (4.2 [1.6, 11]) and temporary neurologic damage (3.2l [1.2, 8.9]) were independently related to proximal reoperation, and DeBakey type I dissection (10.5 [1.4, 80]) was related to late distal reoperation. Catheter-based (endovascular, percutaneous) or hybrid procedures were not used in any patients but could have been used in up to 74% of reoperations, including in four of six of those that resulted in in-hospital death and putatively in 10 of 17 patients who sustained lethal aortic events without reoperation.


Despite close follow-up, aortic-related death after a successful operation for acute type A aortic dissection is prevalent, and overall mortality remains substantial. Reoperations are not uncommon, may be indicated very late as well as repeatedly in the same patient, and are associated with a significant mortality. Increased use of applicable but seemingly under-used catheter-based or hybrid treatment approaches could benefit this growing patient population by offering repeat intervention to more patients and as substitute for reoperative open surgery in selected cases.

Copyright © 2013 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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