Current options and recommendations for the treatment of thoracic aortic pathologies involving the aortic arch: an expert consensus document of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic surgery (EACTS) and the European Society for Vascular Surgery (ESVS).
The implementation of new surgical techniques offers chances but carries risks. Usually, several years pass before a critical appraisal and a balanced opinion of a new treatment method are available and rely on the evidence from the literature and expert's opinion. The frozen elephant trunk (FET) technique has been increasingly used to treat complex pathologies of the aortic arch and the descending aorta, but there still is an ongoing discussion within the surgical community about the optimal indications. This paper represents a common effort of the Vascular Domain of EACTS together with several surgeons with particular expertise in aortic surgery, and summarizes the current knowledge and the state of the art about the FET technique. The majority of the information about the FET technique has been extracted from 97 focused publications already available in the PubMed database (cohort studies, case reports, reviews, small series, meta-analyses and best evidence topics) published in English.
These results demonstrate that the NeoChord procedure is safe, effective and reproducible. Clinical and echocardiographic efficacy is maintained up to 1 year with significant differences among the anatomical groups. Specific anatomical selection criteria are necessary to achieve stable results.
Techniques for faster arch replacement and controlled FET placement should be considered in order to reduce the early mortality and neurological complications after FET surgery. For distal aortic lesions, a two-staged approach is suggested, rather than the FET landing lower than T10.
This validation study demonstrated that EuroSCORE II is a good predictor of perioperative mortality. It showed an optimal calibration until 30%-predicted mortality. Nonetheless, it does not seem to significantly improve the performance of older versions in the higher tertiles of risk. Moreover, it could be simplified, as the removal from the algorithm of non-significant factors does not alter its performance.
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