Utility of left subclavian artery revascularization in association with endoluminal repair of acute and chronic thoracic aortic pathology

Brian G. Peterson, Mark K. Eskandari, Thomas G. Gleason, Mark D. Morasch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations


Background: A rapidly increasing number of thoracic aortic lesions are now treated by endoluminal exclusion by using stent grafts. Many of these lesions abut the great vessels and limit the length of the proximal landing zone. Various methods have been used to address this issue. We report our experience with subclavian artery revascularization in association with endoluminal repair of acute and chronic thoracic aortic pathology. Methods: Thirty (43%) of 70 patients undergoing thoracic endovascular stent-graft placement from January 2001 to August 2005 had lesions adjacent to or involving the origin of the subclavian artery. The mean age was 62 years (range, 22-85 years; 63% were men, and 37% were women). This subgroup of 30 patients had indications for repair that included thoracic aortic aneurysm (n = 15), traumatic transection (n = 6), chronic dissection with pseudoaneurysm (n = 5), and acute dissection with intramural hematoma (n = 4). All 30 patients had the subclavian origin covered by the stent graft. In eight cases (27%), no effort was made to revascularize the subclavian artery before or during the endograft placement procedure. Twenty-three (77%) of 30 patients underwent subclavian to carotid artery transposition (n = 21) or bypass (n = 2) before (n = 12; average of 14 days before stent-graft placement), concomitant with (n = 10), or after (n = 1) the endovascular procedure. Physical examination and computed tomography scans were performed after surgery at 1, 6, and 12 months and annually thereafter. The mean follow-up was 18 months (range, 1-51 months). Results: Five acute complications occurred in the eight patients (63%) who had the subclavian artery covered without pre-endograft revascularization and included four patients who experienced stroke (accounting for the only death) and one patient who developed symptomatic subclavian-vertebral steal that necessitated transposition 7 months later. Two (9%) of the 23 patients who had subclavian revascularization experienced left-sided vocal cord palsies, and 1 patient (4%) developed lower extremity paraparesis secondary to spinal cord ischemia. No late endoleaks related to retrograde sac perfusion from the most distal great vessel have been identified in any patient. Conclusions: Subclavian revascularization procedures can be performed with relatively low risk. Complications are rare, and patient recovery is rapid. Although this is not necessary in all cases, we advocate subclavian to carotid transposition when the aortic lesion is within 15 mm of the left subclavian orifice to prevent type II endoleak or perfusion of a dissected false lumen when the ipsilateral vertebral artery is patent and dominant or when coronary revascularization using an ipsilateral internal mammary artery is anticipated and in cases that necessitate extensive coverage of intercostals that contribute to spinal cord perfusion. Carotid to subclavian artery bypass should be reserved for patients with a patent internal mammary artery conduit perfusing a coronary vessel and should be combined with proximal subclavian ligation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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