Three-step method for transesophageal echocardiography-guided implantation of the frozen elephant trunk: how to prevent spinal cord injury.


Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Tenri Hospital, Mishima-cho 200, Tenri, 632-8552, Japan. [Email]


Total aortic arch replacement using the frozen elephant trunk (FET) procedure has widely spread all over the world with more sophisticated devices. However, spinal cord injury is one of the most important complications, which limits the use of FET. In our hospital, 80 patients treated with FET had no spinal cord injury. There are three key points to avoid spinal cord injury, (1) The distal end of stent graft should be positioned up to the eighth thoracic vertebrae level; (2) the time for selective left subclavian artery perfusion and distal body circulatory arrest should be shortened within 60 min; and (3) mean blood pressure should be maintained above 70 mmHg. Especially, Key point (1) is the most important. The level of aortic valve, which locates around the seventh thoracic vertebrae level, is an appropriate benchmark. We implanted the stent graft with the use of transesophageal echocardiography guided three-step method.


Aortic arch aneurysm,Aortic dissection,Frozen elephant trunk,Spinal cord injury,Total aortic arch replacement,Transesophageal echocardiography,