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Original Articles: Adult Cardiac

Long-Term Survival After Open Repair of Chronic Distal Aortic Dissection

Stefano Zoli, MDa,*, Christian D. Etz, MD, PhDa, Fabian Roder, MSa, Christoph S. Mueller, MSa, Robert M. Brenner, MSa, Carol A. Bodian, DrPHb, Gabriele Di Luozzo, MDa, Randall B. Griepp, MDa

a Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York
b Department of Anesthesiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

Accepted for publication February 9, 2010.

* Address correspondence to Dr Zoli, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029 (Email:

Presented at the Fifty-sixth Annual Meeting of the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association, Marco Island, FL, Nov 4–7, 2009.

Background: The optimal treatment of chronic distal aortic dissection remains controversial, with endovascular stent-graft techniques challenging traditional surgery.

Methods: From January 1994 to April 2007, 104 patients (82 male, median age 60.5 years) with chronic distal aortic dissection underwent surgical repair, 0 to 21 years after initial diagnosis of acute type A or B dissection (median 2.1 years). Twenty-three (22%) patients underwent urgent-emergent surgery. Mean aortic diameter was 6.9 ± 1.4 cm. Indications for surgery, other than aortic expansion, were pain in 6 (6%) patients, malperfusion in 6 (6%), and rupture in 11 (11%). Forty-nine (47%) had previous cardioaortic surgery (29% dissection-related), 21 (20%) had coronary artery disease, 12 (12%) had Marfan syndrome, and 4 (4%) were on chronic dialysis. Twenty-six (25%) had a thrombosed false lumen. Thirty (29%) patients required reimplantation of visceral arteries; 8.3 ± 2.7 segmental artery pairs were sacrificed.

Results: Hospital mortality was 9.6% (10 patients). Paraplegia occurred in 5 (4.8%). Twenty-seven patients (26%) experienced adverse outcome (death within one year, paraplegia, stroke, or dialysis). Adverse outcome was associated with atheroma (p = 0.04, odds ratio = 4.3). Survival was 78% at 1, 68% at 5, and 59% at 10 years (average follow-up, 7.7 ± 4.1 years). Freedom from distal aortic reoperation was 99% at 1, 93% at 5, and 83% at 10 years. After one year, patients enjoyed longevity equivalent to a normal age-sex matched population (standardized mortality ratio = 1.38, p = 0.23). By multivariate analysis, atheroma (p = 0.0005, relative risk = 9.32) and age (p = 0.0003, relative risk = 1.15/year) were risk factors for long-term survival.

Conclusions: The efficacy of open repair for distal chronic dissection is highlighted by normal survival after the first year, and a low reoperation-reintervention rate.