Survival and quality of life after repair of acute type A aortic dissection in patients aged 75 years and older justify intervention

Francesco Santini, Giuseppe Montalbano, Antonio Messina, Augusto D'Onofrio, Gianluca Casali, Francesca Viscardi, Giovanni Battista Luciani, Alessandro Mazzucco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Controversy still exists about averting expenditure of health care resources on the growing elderly population. This study evaluates clinical outcome of patients aged 75 years and older operated upon for acute type A aortic dissection. Methods: Between January 1990 and April 2004, of 247 patients undergoing emergency operation for acute type A aortic dissection at our Institution, 40 patients (16%) were aged 75 years and older (mean 78 ± 3 years, range 75-88 years) and represent the study population. On admission, 9 (22.5%) had cardiogenic shock/hypotension, 20 (50%) cardiac tamponade, 14 (35%) kidney failure, 11 (27.5%) limb ischemia, 3 (7.5%) neurologic deficit, and 1 (2.5%) myocardial ischemia. Surgical procedures included isolated replacement of the ascending aorta in 34 patients (85%), associated with total root replacement in 5 (12.5%), and with aortic valve replacement in 1 (2.5%). Eleven patients (27.5%) underwent aortic arch replacement (hemiarch: n = 8, 20%; total arch: n = 3, 7.5%). Results: In-hospital mortality was 30% (12 patients). Mortality tended to be higher (8/21, 38% vs 4/19, 21%; p = NS) for patients presenting with any one of the following complications: tamponade, shock, brain and/or myocardial, renal, limb malperfusion. Actuarial survival at 1, 5, and 7 years was 93 ± 5%, 80 ± 8%, and 80 ± 8%, respectively, and freedom from reoperation 97 ± 2%, 97 ± 2%, and 97 ± 2%, respectively. Actuarial event-free rates were 94 ± 3%, 90 ± 5%, and 90 ± 5%. Seventy-four percent of survivors are in NYHA FC I, and quality of life test (RAND SF-36) revealed a generalized perception of independency and well-being, comparable to an age-matched population. Conclusions: Overall results for emergency repair of acute type A aortic dissection in the elderly justify intervention, particularly in uncomplicated cases. Expeditious referral and intervention by lowering pre-operative dissection-related complications and comorbidities might help to improve results. Survivors show functional status and quality of life similar to contemporary individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-391
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Aortic dissection
  • Elderly
  • Mortality
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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