The purpose of this article is to report a single-center experience in treating thoracic aortic pathology with stent grafts. This is a retrospective review of cases done within a period of 30 months.
Between January 2002 and May 2004, 12 patients were treated in our institution with thoracic stent grafts ( n = 12) for various clinical conditions. There were seven men and five women. Three patients required emergency treatment ( n = 3), two for aortic transection and one for iatrogenic injury during lung biopsy. Others were treated electively ( n = 9).
All patients were high risk for open surgery. There was one perioperative death, with a patient with multiple trauma succumbing to head injury 4 weeks after stent graft insertion. There was no incidence of paraplegia. Three patients underwent bypass surgery in the neck to achieve an adequate proximal seal zone prior to stent grafting. One patient with an aneurysm of the descending thoracic aorta required an extension limb below the original graft for an increase in sac size, possibly owing to endotension. Renal failure occurred in one patient and resolved without dialysis. One patient died 18 months after her procedure, possibly owing to aneurysm expansion.
Stent grafts are a viable alternative to open surgery for thoracic aortic pathology in high-risk individuals. Visceral and spinal cord ischemia is less prevalent with stent grafts compared with open surgery. The short-term results are promising. Long-term follow-up is awaited. Stent grafts might have greater impact in the thoracic aorta than the abdominal aorta for which they were initially developed.