Patients with type A acute aortic dissection presenting with major brain injury: Should we operate on them?

Marco Di Eusanio, Himanshu J. Patel, Christoph A. Nienaber, Daniel M. Montgomery, Amit Korach, Thoralf M. Sundt, Carlo Devincentiis, Matthias Voehringer, Mark D. Peterson, Truls Myrmel, Gianluca Folesani, Magnus Larsen, Nimesh D. Desai, Joseph E. Bavaria, Jehangir J. Appoo, Teresa M. Kieser, Rossella Fattori, Kim Eagle, Roberto Di Bartolomeo, Santi Trimarchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The management strategy remains controversial for patients presenting with type A acute aortic dissection with cerebrovascular accident or coma. The present study aimed to help guide surgeons treating these high-risk patients. Methods: Of 1873 patients with type A acute aortic dissection enrolled in the International Registry for Acute Dissection, 87 (4.7%) presented with cerebrovascular accident and 54 (2.9%) with coma. The hospital and 5-year results were stratified by the presence and type of brain injury (no injury vs stroke vs coma) and management type (medical vs surgical). Independent predictors of short- and mid-term survival were identified. Results: Presentation with shock, hypotension, or tamponade (46.8% vs 25.2%; P <.001) and arch vessel involvement (55.0% vs 36.1%; P <.001) was more likely in patients with brain injury. Surgical management was avoided more often in patients with coma (33.3%) or cerebrovascular accident (24.1%) than in those without brain injury (11.1%; P <.001). The overall hospital mortality was 22.7% without brain injury, 40.2% with cerebrovascular accident, and 63.0% with coma (P <.001). Mortality varied among the management types for both cerebrovascular accident (76.2% medical vs 27.0% surgical; P <.001) and coma (100% medical vs 44.4% surgical; P <.001). Postoperatively, cerebrovascular accident and coma resolved in 84.3% and 78.8% of cases, respectively. On logistic regression analysis, surgery was protective against mortality in patients presenting with brain injury (odds ratio 0.058; P <.001). The 5-year survival of patients presenting with cerebrovascular accident and coma was 23.8% and 0% after medical management versus 67.1% and 57.1% after surgery (log rank, P <.001), respectively. Conclusions: Brain injury at presentation adversely affects hospital survival of patients with type A acute aortic dissection. In the present observational study, the patients selected to undergo surgery demonstrated improved late survival and frequent reversal of neurologic deficits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number3 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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