Acute type A aortic dissection complicated by stroke: Can immediate repair be performed safely?

Anthony L. Estrera, Zsolt Garami, Charles C. Miller, Eyal E. Porat, Paul E. Achouh, Jayesh Dhareshwar, Riad Meada, Ali Azizzadeh, Hazim J. Safi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Objective: Emergency surgical intervention for acute type A aortic dissection complicated by stroke remains controversial. The urgency of immediate repair in this setting is tempered by the concern that cerebral reperfusion may worsen neurologic outcome. The purpose of this study was to report and analyze our results with acute type A aortic dissection complicated by stroke. Methods: Between September 1999 and March 2005, 151 consecutive patients presented with acute type A aortic dissection. Of this group, 16 (10.6%) patients had sustained a preoperative stroke. Mean age was 56 years (range 43-73 years), with 6 (38%) women. Right hemispheric, left hemispheric, and bilateral strokes occurred in 81%, 13%, and 6%, respectively. Computed tomographic scan or transesophageal echocardiography diagnosed aortic dissection; clinical examination, computed tomographic scan, or transcranial Doppler ultrasound diagnosed stroke. Aortic repair was performed with cardiopulmonary bypass, profound hypothermic circulatory arrest, and retrograde cerebral perfusion. One patient with complete neurologic devastation (coma) was not operated on. Results: Overall hospital mortality was 18.8% (3/16). Mortality in 2 patients who did not undergo surgery (1 patient who was neurologically devastated, and 1 patient whose aorta ruptured while awaiting surgery) was 100% (2/2). Operative mortality was 7% (1/14). Among patients undergoing surgery, neurologic status completely recovered in 2 (14%) patients, improved in 6 (43%) patients, remained the same in 6 (43%) patients, and worsened in none. Median time from onset of stroke to surgery was 9 hours (range 1-240 hours). Eighty percent of patients who underwent surgical repair within 10 hours had improvement in neurologic status, where as none operated on beyond 10 hours improved (P < .02). Conclusions: In our experience, surgical repair of acute type A aortic dissection can be performed in the setting of preoperative stroke with acceptable mortality. Moreover, no worsening of neurologic condition was observed after surgical repair. Immediate surgical repair is warranted even if acute type A aortic dissection is complicated by stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1404-1408
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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