Embolization was the major cause of permanent stroke in patients with moderate or severe carotid or intracranial atherosclerosis who underwent elective open aortic arch surgery at a single institution, according to the results of a retrospective study.
Preoperative craniocervical and aortic screening may aid in modifying the operative strategy to reduce the incidence of stroke in these patients, according to a report published in the May issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
Preventing stroke in this patient population is an important consideration, because perioperative stroke is approximately 4 times more common in open aortic arch surgery (OAAS) than in coronary artery bypass grafting or valve surgery, according to Ken-ichi Imasaka, MD, and his colleagues at the National Hospital Organization Kyushu Medical Center, Fukuoka, Japan.
The study population comprised 200 consecutive patients undergoing elective OAAS at the institution between October 2008 and October 2015, including 34% women and with a mean patient age of 71 years (J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017;153:1045-53).
After preoperative screening, 21% of patients were diagnosed with carotid or intracranial artery disease (CIAD). None of these patients were diagnosed with impaired cerebral perfusion reserve on brain SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography). A total of 92% of patients underwent ascending aorta or aortic arch replacement through a median sternotomy, while the remaining 8% underwent extended aortic arch replacement via L-incision (15 patients) or combined median sternotomy and left posterior lateral thoracotomy (1 patient). Among the patients, 16% underwent ascending aorta replacement; 8% had partial arch replacement; and the remaining 76% had total arch replacement.
Shaggy aorta was present in 19% of the patients, with 51% of these showing CIAD (P less than .0001). A total of 30% of the patients with shaggy aorta had the total arch replacement through an L-incision or combined median sternotomy and left posterior lateral thoracotomy, a significant difference (P less than .0001).
The overall in-hospital mortality rate was 3.5%. The overall incidence of permanent stroke and paraplegia or paraparesis was 4% (8 patients) and 2% (4 patients), respectively. Three (37.5%) of the 8 permanent stroke patients died during the postoperative hospital stay, compared with 2.1% of the 192 patients without stroke.
Univariate analysis indicated that previous cerebrovascular accident (P = .0002), shaggy aorta (P less than .0001), cardiopulmonary bypass time (P = .003), selective antegrade cerebral perfusion time (P = .004), operation time (P = .02), and extended aortic repair through L-incision or combined median sternotomy and left posterior lateral thoracotomy (P = .0002) were significant risk factors for neurologic morbidity.
“Preoperative intensive screening of carotid and intracranial artery disease is a useful step to identify patients at higher risk of hemodynamic ischemic stroke. Advanced systemic atherosclerosis may be a crucial determinant of perioperative stroke due to atherothrombotic embolization. Antiembolic measures during surgery are essential to prevent perioperative stroke,” the researchers concluded.
The authors reported that they had no disclosures.