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J Vasc Surg. 1995 Apr;21(4):567-72; discussion 573-5.

Acute aortic occlusion--factors that influence outcome.

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Department of Surgery, New York Medical College, Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, USA.



The purpose of this study was to report our experience in the management of acute aortic occlusion and to analyze factors that influenced the outcome.


This was a retrospective analysis of 48 patients with acute aortic occlusion treated over a 19-year period. Presentation included limb ischemia in 34, acute abdomen in four, spinal cord compression-like symptoms in eight, and sudden onset of hypertension in two patients. Thrombosis was the cause of acute aortic occlusion in 44, and embolus in four patients. Acute thrombosis was associated with underlying atherosclerotic occlusive disease in 36 patients. In these, thrombosis was due to low-flow state caused by cardiac dysfunction or severe volume depletion. Thrombosed aneurysms caused aortic occlusion in two patients. Hypercoagulable state caused thrombosis of relatively normal aorta in six patients. Angiography in 39 patients revealed occlusion to be juxtarenal or infrarenal in 37 and suprarenal in two. Left ventricular function (LVF) was assessed in 42 patients. Circulation was restored in 45 (aortofemoral bypass in 22, axillofemoral bypass in 12, and thromboembolectomy in 11). This was not feasible in three patients. Additional surgical procedures were required in 29 patients (64%).


The overall mortality rate was 52% (25 of 48). Of the 20 patients with severely compromised LVF, 17 died (85%). In contrast, only five (23%) deaths occurred among 22 with good LVF. Among 29 patients who required additional operations, 18 died (62%). All four patients with embolic occlusion survived. Patients with normal LVF but hypercoagulable state had dismal outcome--only one of the six survived.


Acute aortic occlusion is infrequent. Presentation may be varied, thus delaying diagnosis. Poor LVF, thrombosis of arteries below the inguinal ligament or of visceral arteries, and "hypercoagulable state" portend ominous prognosis.

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