Is aortic surgery using hypothermic circulatory arrest in octogenarians justifiable?

Christian Hagl, Jan D. Galla, David Spielvogel, Steven L. Lansman, Rafael Squitieri, Carol A. Bodian, M. Arisan Ergin, Randall B. Griepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: This study was undertaken to analyze the risk of mortality and neurological complications after aortic surgery requiring hypothermic circulatory arrest (HCA) in octogenarians. Methods: All patients of >80 years at the time of aortic surgery requiring HCA since 1988 were examined. Of 51 patients, 23 were male; the median age was 83. Twenty-six (51%) had proximal repair; the arch was replaced in eight (16%), and 17 (33%) had descending aorta repair. Eleven (22%) were emergencies. Multivariate analysis was carried out to determine the risk factors for in-hospital mortality and/or stroke (adverse outcome) using variables with P<0.1 after univariate analysis. Results: The hospital mortality was 16%. Five patients suffered strokes (9.8%): only one survived >6 months, and three died before discharge. The overall adverse outcome was 22%, but elective operation was associated with much better results, with an adverse outcome of only 3.6% after operations via a median sternotomy. Adverse outcome was strikingly higher with more distal resections via a left thoracotomy: 47 vs. 8.8% for ascending aorta/arch resections (P=0.003). Emergency operation via a lateral thoracotomy was associated with a prohibitively high adverse outcome. Twenty-nine patients (73%) had temporary neurological dysfunction (TND). Multivariate analysis revealed emergency operation (P=0.01; odds ratio (OR), 10.6) and operations via a lateral thoracotomy (P=0.008; OR, 11) as independent preoperative predictors of adverse outcome. The overall survival was 66% at 2 years and 39% at 5 years, compared with 85 and 52% among age- and sex-matched controls. Conclusions: Aortic surgery utilizing HCA in octogenarians can be performed with an acceptable risk of mortality and stroke. From the evidence in this study, it seems that elective aneurysm repair via a median sternotomy can be undertaken for the usual indications, even in octogenarians. However, the enhanced vulnerability of the brain in the elderly is reflected by a high early mortality following stroke, and a high incidence of TND. Emergency operations increase the possibility of adverse outcome dramatically, and patients who require a lateral thoracotomy are at significantly higher risk than those operated via a median sternotomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Adverse outcome
  • Aortic surgery
  • Hypothermic circulatory arrest
  • Neurological complications
  • Octogenarians


Dive into the research topics of 'Is aortic surgery using hypothermic circulatory arrest in octogenarians justifiable?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this