Risk of adding prophylactic aorta replacement to a cardiac operation

Jay J. Idrees, Eric E. Roselli*, Eugene H. Blackstone, Ashley M. Lowry, Edward G. Soltesz, Douglas R. Johnston, Michael Z. Tong, Gösta B. Pettersson, Brian Griffin, A. Marc Gillinov, Lars G. Svensson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: The study objective was to determine whether adding prophylactic aorta replacement increases the risk of a cardiac operation when cardiac rather than aortic disease is the primary indication for operation. Methods: Patients undergoing cardiac operations with aorta replacement (cardioaortic group), with or without circulatory arrest, were propensity matched to identify patients whose combined operation was not primarily indicated by aortic disease (n = 684). These patients were further propensity matched without accounting for thoracic-aortic measurements to patients undergoing cardiac operations without aorta replacement (cardiac-surgery only group), 647 pairs, for comparing outcomes. Results: Most (n = 431/503 [86%]) propensity-matched patients undergoing cardioaortic operations had ascending aorta dilatation with a maximum aortic diameter of less than 5.5 cm. There was no evidence of an incremental increase in risk of in-hospital stroke (cardioaortic, n = 9/1.4% vs cardiac only, n = 7/1.1%; P = .6) or mortality (cardioaortic, n = 6/0.93% vs cardiac only, n = 3/0.46%; P = .5). Unmatched patients undergoing concomitant aortic surgery had advanced aortic disease distal to the ascending aorta (arch, 3.8 ± 0.98 cm vs 3.2 ± 0.51 cm; descending, 4.4 ± 1.7 cm vs 3.2 ± 0.99 cm) as the primary indication for their operation and had a high occurrence of in-hospital stroke (6.5% vs 1.5%, P = .0007) and death (7% vs 1.2%, P = .0001). Conclusions: Prophylactic aorta replacement can be safely performed during a cardioaortic operation, without added penalty, when aortic disease is less severe and not the primary indication for surgery. Risks after an aorta replacement combined with cardiac surgery can be substantial, however, when advanced aortic disease is the primary indication for operation. These distinctive risks should be taken into consideration at the time of surgical decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1669-1678.e10
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • aneurysm
  • aortic valve repair
  • ascending aortic aneurysm repair
  • circulatory arrest
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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