Use of Spinal Anesthesia during Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair

Benjamin D. Gross, Jerry Zhu, Ajit Rao, Nicole Ilonzo, Jason Storch, Peter L. Faries, Michael L. Marin, Justin M. George, Rami O. Tadros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to assess outcomes after spinal anesthesia (SA) versus general anesthesia (GA) in patients undergoing thoracic endograft placement and to evaluate the adjunctive use of cerebrospinal fluid drainage (CSFD) placement. Methods: A single-center retrospective review of patients that underwent thoracic endograft placement from 2001 to 2019 was performed. Patients were stratified based on the type of anesthesia they received: GA, SA or epidural, GA with CSFD, and SA with CSFD. Primary outcomes included 30-day mortality and length of stay (LOS). Baseline characteristics were analyzed with Student's t-test and Pearson's chi-squared test. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify risk factors for 30-day mortality and longer LOS. Results: A total of 333 patients underwent thoracic endograft placement; 104 patients received SA, 180 patients received GA, 30 patients received GA and CSFD, and 19 patients received SA and CSFD. Of the total patients, 16.2% underwent thoracic endograft placement for type B aortic dissection, 3.3% for type A aortic dissection, and 12.3% for penetrating ulcer. The mean age of the study population was 68.7 years old. Patients undergoing SA were older with a mean age of 73.4 years versus 64.7 years for patients undergoing GA (P < 0.001). Spinal anesthesia (SA) was preferred in patients at high risk for GA (>75 years old: 52.9% vs. 33.3%, P < 0.001; renal comorbidities: 20.6% vs. 10.6%, P = 0.03, and current smokers: 26.7% vs. 9.6%, P < 0.001). Length of stay (LOS) was decreased in the SA group (4.29 days vs. 9.70 days, P < 0.001). There was a lower incidence of spinal cord ischemia in the SA group (1.0% vs. 2.2%, P = 0.44), as well as significantly decreased 30-day mortality (0% vs. 5.6%, P = 0.01), reintervention (19.2% vs. 26.8%, P = 0.02), and return to the operating room (6.8% vs. 12.7%, P = 0.02). Of the 19 patients that had SA + CSFD, there were no signs and symptoms of spinal cord ischemia and decreased incidence of perioperative complications (0% vs. 33.3%, P = 0.01). There was no difference in the risk for intraoperative complications, neurologic complications, or 30-day mortality between GA + CSFD patients versus SA + CSFD patients. Age >75 (P = 0.002), intraoperative complications (P < 0.001), and perioperative complications (P = 0.02) were associated with increased mortality after thoracic endograft placement per multivariate logistic regression analysis. Conclusions: Spinal anesthesia (SA) in select high-risk patients was associated with reduced 30-day mortality, neurologic complications, and LOS compared to GA. The concurrent use of spinal drainage and SA had satisfactory results compared to spinal drainage and GA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-251
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StatePublished - Feb 2024


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