Debranching aortic surgery
Conventional open surgery still remains as the gold standard of care for aortic arch and thoracoabdominal pathology. In centers of excellence, open repair of the arch has been performed with 5% immediate mortality and a low rate of complications; however overall mortality rates are around 15%, being up to 40% of all patients rejected for treatment due to their age or comorbidities. For thoracoabdominal aortic pathology, data reported from centers of excellence show immediate mortality rates from 5% to 19%, spinal cord ischemia from 2.7% to 13.2%, and renal failure needing dialysis from 4.6% to 5.6%. For these reasons, different alternatives that use endovascular techniques, including debranching procedures, have been developed. The reported results for hybrid debranching procedures are controversial and difficult to interpret because series are retrospective, heterogenic and including a small number of patients. Clearly, an important selection bias exists: debranching procedures are performed in elderly patients with more comorbidities and with thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms that have more complex and extensive disease. Considering this fact, debranching procedures still remain a useful alternative: for aortic arch pathology debranching techniques can avoid or reduce the time of extracorporeal circulation (ECC) or cardiac arrest which may be beneficial in high-risk patients that otherwise would be rejected for treatment. And compared to pure endovascular techniques, they can be used in emergency cases with applicability in a wide range of anatomies. For thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, they are mainly useful when other lesser invasive endovascular options are not feasible due to anatomical limitations or when they are not available in cases where delaying the intervention is not an option.