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Ann Thorac Surg. 2011 Jul;92(1):97-102; discussion 102-3. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2011.03.089.

Results with a selective revascularization strategy for left subclavian artery coverage during thoracic endovascular aortic repair.

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Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.



The need for routine left subclavian artery (LSCA) revascularization when this vessel is covered during thoracic endovascular aortic repair remains controversial. We report our results with a selective LSCA revascularization strategy during thoracic endovascular aortic repair.


Between May 2002 and March 2010, 287 thoracic endovascular aortic repair procedures were performed at our institution. LSCA coverage occurred in 145 (51%), which form the basis of this report.


Left subclavian artery revascularization was performed in 32 patients (22%) through a left common carotid-LSCA bypass. Indications for selective LSCA revascularization included spinal cord protection in 10, patent pedicled left internal mammary artery graft in 9, left arm ischemia after LSCA coverage in 5, origin of the left vertebral artery from the arch in 4, dialysis access in the left arm in 2, and vertebrobasilar insufficiency in 2. There were no instances of dominant left vertebral artery. The revascularized and non-revascularized groups had similar rates of death (6.3% vs 1.8%; p=0.21), stroke (3.1% vs 3.5%; p>0.99), permanent paraplegia or paraparesis (3.1% vs 0%; p=0.22), and type II endoleak (4.3% vs 6.5%; p>0.99). There were no instances of ischemic stroke related to left posterior circulation hypoperfusion. Four complications of carotid-subclavian bypass occurred in 3 patients (9.4%).


Selective LSCA revascularization is safe and does not appear to increase the risk of neurologic events. Further, subclavian revascularization is not without complications, which should be considered with regards to a nonselective revascularization strategy.

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