Objective: Cardiac surgery in patients with severely atherosclerotic or porcelain ascending aorta is technically challenging, with markedly increased risk of atheroembolism. We describe a technique of meticulous crossclamping of a difficult aorta during short-term moderate hypothermic circulatory arrest. Methods: From 1997 to 2007, we found 40 patients (mean age, 70 ± 8 years), including 14 patients undergoing hemodialysis, whose preoperative computed tomographic and intraoperative epiaortic ultrasonographic scans revealed eggshell calcification (n = 15) or protruding atheromas (n = 25) of the ascending aorta. They underwent cardiac surgery (aortic, 31 patients; mitral, 3 patients; both, 5 patients; and coronary alone, 1 patient) by means of meticulous crossclamping during hypothermic circulatory arrest for 3.4 ± 1.5 minutes at a rectal temperature of 29.0°C ± 2.3°C. During hypothermic circulatory arrest, we performed only internal inspection to identify the safe location of crossclamping in 21 patients, whereas we required debridement of calcification or atheroma by using the Cavitron Ultrasonic Surgical Aspirator (Tyco Healthcare, Mansfield, Mass) for safe crossclamping in 19 patients. Results: By using this technique, no patients died during the hospital stay. Stroke occurred in 1 (2.5%) patient, and transient agitation occurred in 1 patient. Re-exploration for bleeding was required in 1 patient, and wound infection occurred in 2 patients. During follow-up, with a median time of 5.2 years, the overall survival rates were 100%, 90%, and 76% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively. Three patients required reoperations during the follow-up period because of pseudoaneurysm in 2 patients and prosthetic valve infection in 1 patient. Conclusion: Short-term moderate hypothermic circulatory arrest is quite useful for safe aortic crossclamping after internal inspection or debridement in high-risk patients with a severely atherosclerotic aorta.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine