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J Vasc Surg. 2011 Aug;54(2):364-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2010.12.063. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Transcranial Doppler findings during thoracic endovascular aortic repair.

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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, Houston, TX, USA.



Thoracic endograft placement has become an acceptable treatment alternative to open repair of the thoracic aorta. Cerebral embolization when manipulating the aortic arch during cardiac catheterization is well described, but the influence of thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) on this event remains poorly studied. Our aim was to quantify the number of microembolic signals (MES) detected by transcranial Doppler (TCD) during different stages of TEVAR and correlate them with landing zones, subclavian revascularization, and postoperative morbidity and mortality.


TCD was used to monitor 20 patients during TEVAR for the treatment of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs) in 17 (85%) patients, followed by three (15%) with chronic type B aortic dissection and one (5%) Crawford type I thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA). Imaging and medical parameters were entered into a combined database. TCD signals were recorded digitally for the entire case. MES, velocities, and pulsatility index values were entered into a combined database.


The total number of MES calculated for the diagnostic phase before TEVAR placement and during the treatment phase for all cases combined was 1081 and 1141, respectively. The highest MES counts were generated by the pigtail catheter placement during the diagnostic phase and by device placement during the treatment phase. Embolic count to right/left sides was equal overall. In the diagnostic phase, an average of nine MES were seen right/left, whereas during the treatment phase, 45 and 43 MES were seen, respectively, for right/left. A significant association was found between the total number of MES and postoperative stroke, transient ischemic attack (P = .0055), and death (P = .0053).


TCD can detect microemboli during TEVAR and is able to identify the procedural aspects most associated with cerebral microemboli.

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