Article Abstract

Conservative management versus endovascular or open surgery in the spectrum of type B aortic dissection

Authors: Xun Yuan, Andreas Mitsis, Mohammed Ghonem, Ilias Iakovakis, Christoph A. Nienaber


Background: Type B aortic dissection is a life-threatening acute aortic condition often with acute ischemic signs or symptoms. With initial management focusing on alleviating malperfusion and pain, and avoiding propagation of dissection or rupture both systolic blood and pulse pressure should be reduced initially by an aggressive medical approach. In the setting of persistent signs of complications endovascular strategies have replaced open surgery and led to a fourfold increase in early survival and better long-term outcomes.
Methods: An electronic health database search was performed on articles published between January 2006 and July 2017. Publications were included in this review if (I) the index aortic pathology was type B aortic (distal) dissection; (II) when medical management, open surgical replacement or thoracic endovascular aortic repair were among those options; (III) when at least one of all basic outcome criteria such as survival, spinal cord ischemia and cerebrovascular accident was reported; (IV) when ≥15 serial patients were included. A total of 62 studies were eligible and analysed.
Results: Our manuscript has summarized data collected over 12 years on management specific outcomes in the setting of distal aortic dissection and provides an up-to-date interpretation of the published evidence. For complicated cases, treated acutely, the 30-day or in-hospital mortality was 7.3% when managed by endovascular means, whereas the pooled rate for 30-day or in-hospital mortality was 19.0% when subjected to open repair. For acute uncomplicated type B dissection usually treated with blood pressure lowering medications, the pooled 30-day or in-hospital mortality rate was 2.4%. Survival rates at 5 years averaged at 60% (40% mortality). Freedom from any aortic event ranged from 34.0% to 83.9%, underlining an inherent risk of progression and late complications. For chronic complicated type B dissection, the rates of stroke, paraplegia and operative mortality following endovascular repair ranged from 5% to 13%, 2% to 13% and 2 to 13%, respectively, while 5-year survival rates after open repair ranged from 60% to 90%. In chronic uncomplicated type B dissection almost 90% of patients survive initial hospitalization and were subjected to medical management with a 5-year survival of 50–80%. However, up to 20–55% of medically treated patients develop aneurysmal degeneration after 5 years with an unknown risk of rupture.59
Conclusions: Currently, the less invasive strategy of endovascular repair (as compared to open surgery) provides improved 30-day or in-hospital survival in the setting of complicated acute type B aortic dissection and may seek broad application. Open surgical aortic reconstruction should be left to experienced aortic centres if endovascular management is not an option.