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Innovations (Phila). 2012 Sep-Oct;7(5):346-9. doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e31827e7969.

Tailored endovascular repair of traumatic aortic disruptions with "stacked" abdominal aortic extension cuffs.

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Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Mid America Heart and Vascular Institute, St Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO, USA.



The management paradigm for traumatic aortic disruptions has evolved from open to endovascular repair. Thoracic stent grafts designed to treat aneurysmal disease, however, have disadvantages, including size mismatch in younger trauma patients and current standard lengths, which may needlessly necessitate coverage of at least 10 cm of thoracic aorta, increasing the risk of spinal cord ischemia. The "off-label" use of abdominal aortic extension cuffs to treat traumatic aortic disruptions may provide an advantage in this regard by better size matching for the younger trauma patient, reduced thoracic aortic coverage, and less cost to the institution.


From 2008 to 2011, a total of 16 traumatic aortic disruptions were evaluated and managed with endovascular techniques. The last six were treated with abdominal aortic extensions cuffs (Excluder Extension Cuffs; W.L. Gore & Associates, Flagstaff, AZ) rather than traditional thoracic stent grafts. In addition to demographics and trauma-related data, additional endpoints evaluated in this retrospective review included operative time, number of cuffs used, stent cost data, procedural complications, and follow-up.


All six patients (five men/one woman) with traumatic aortic disruption were successfully treated with complete exclusion of the disruption using abdominal aortic cuffs. There were no complications including death or spinal cord ischemia. The average age was 27 years (range, 18-44 years). The average number of cuffs used to cover the traumatic tear was 2.6 per patient (range, 2-3 cuffs per patient), covering an average of 5.3 cm of thoracic aorta (range, 4-6 cm). Mean procedure time was 70 minutes. Hospital cost for each cuff was $2200 (average total stent cost per patient, $5720). For comparison, a single 10-cm conformable thoracic aortic graft (CTAG) (Gore) costs $14,500. Average follow-up of all six patients for up to 3 years demonstrates no complications or migration of the stent grafts.


Traumatic aortic disruptions can be safely and selectively managed with "stacked" abdominal aortic extension cuffs. This tailored therapy may provide advantages over traditional thoracic stents, including improved size match in a younger trauma patient, less aortic coverage, and reduced cost.

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