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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2018 Jun;55(6):861-866. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2018.03.020. Epub 2018 Apr 22.

Extra-Thoracic Supra-aortic Bypass Surgery Is Safe in Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair and Arterial Occlusive Disease Treatment.

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European Vascular Centre Aachen-Maastricht, Department of Vascular Surgery, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany.
Institut für Medizinische Informatik, University Hospital Aachen, Aachen, Germany.
European Vascular Centre Aachen-Maastricht, Department of Vascular Surgery, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany; European Vascular Centre Aachen-Maastricht, Department of Vascular Surgery, University Maastricht, Maastricht, Netherlands. Electronic address:



The safety and feasibility of supra-aortic debranching as part of endovascular aortic surgery or as a treatment option for arterial occlusive disease (AOD) remains controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical outcome of this surgery.


This single centre, retrospective study included 107 patients (mean age 69.2 years, 38.4% women) who underwent supra-aortic bypass surgery (carotid-subclavian bypass, carotid-carotid bypass, and carotid-carotid-subclavian bypass) because of thoracic or thoraco-abdominal endovascular aortic repair (57%; 61/107) or as AOD treatment (42.9%; 46/107) between January 2006 and January 2015. Mortality, morbidity with a focus on neurological complications, and patency rate were assessed. Twenty-six of 107 (14.2%) of the debranching patients were treated under emergency conditions because of acute type B dissection or symptomatic aneurysm. Follow up, conducted by imaging interpretation and telephone interviews, continued till March 2017 (mean 42.1, 0-125, months).


The in hospital mortality rate was 10.2% (11/107), all of these cases from the debranching group and related to emergency procedures (p < .0001). One procedure related death of a patient in the debranching group, who had a lethal stroke 72 months post-operatively following bypass occlusion was observed. Early neurological complications were recognised in 10 patients, including two transient cases of Horner syndrome and vocal cord paralysis as well as six cases of phrenic nerve apraxia. Three cases of stenosis and one case of occlusion were successfully treated. In three AOD patients, the graft had to be exchanged because of peri-graft reaction. Primary and secondary patency rates of 96 patients after 36 months were 95% (SE 2.6%) and 98% (SE 1.8%), respectively.


Extra-thoracic supra-aortic bypass surgery involves low complication rates and high mid-term bypass patency rates. It is a safe and feasible treatment option in the form of debranching in combination with endovascular aortic aneurysm repair and in AOD.


Carotid subclavian bypass; Debranching; Spinal cord ischaemia; Stroke; Thoracic endovascular aortic repair

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