Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of a period of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) during elective replacement of the ascending thoracic aorta. Summary Background Data: DHCA has been implemented in ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm resection whenever the anatomy or pathology of the aorta or arch vessels prevents safe or adequate cross-clamping. Profound hypothermia and retrograde cerebral perfusion have been shown to be neurologically protective during ascending aortic replacement under circulatory arrest. Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of 91 consecutive patients who underwent repair of chronic ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms from 1986 to present. The authors hypothesized that patients undergoing DHCA with or without retrograde cerebral perfusion during aneurysm repair were at no greater operative risk than patients who received aneurysm resection while on standard cardiopulmonary bypass. Results: There were no significant differences in hospital mortality, stroke rate, or operative morbidity between patients repaired on DHCA when compared to those repaired on cardiopulmonary bypass. Conclusions: DHCA with or without retrograde cerebral perfusion does not result in increased morbidity or mortality during the resection of ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms. In fact, this technique may prevent damage to the arch vessels in select cases and avoid the possible complications associated with cross-clamping a friable or atherosclerotic aorta.
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