OBJECTIVES: Spinal cord ischaemia (SCI) following endovascular thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA) repair is a devastating and unpredictable complication. This study describes a single unit's experience of SCI in patients who have had endovascular TAAA repair.

METHODS: A prospectively maintained database of patients having endovascular TAAA repair using branched and fenestrated stent grafts between 2008 and 2014 at a single high volume centre was reviewed. Patients who developed neurological symptoms and signs related to SCI were identified and factors associated with onset and recovery of neurology were analysed.

RESULTS: Sixty-nine patients (median age 73 years, 52 male; Crawford classification type I [n = 4], type II [n = 11], type III [n = 33], type IV [n = 14], type V [n = 7]) underwent endovascular TAAA repair. Twelve patients developed neurological symptoms/signs related to SCI but this was successfully reversed in eight patients, leaving four (5.8%) with permanent paraplegia. The median length of aorta covered was not significantly different in the 12 patients who developed SCI compared with the cohort that did not. Eleven of the patients who developed SCI had an intraoperative mean arterial pressure (MAP) below 80 mmHg. Cutaneous atheroemboli were noted in half of the patients in the SCI group compared with 11% of the non-SCI group (p < .05). Strategies used to reverse SCI included raising MAP, cerebrospinal fluid drainage, angioplasty of stenosed internal iliac arteries, and restoring perfusion to the aneurysm sac.

CONCLUSIONS: This series highlights some of the risk factors associated with the development of SCI after endovascular repair of TAAAs. It also illustrates the importance of a dedicated institutional protocol aimed at ensuring the early diagnosis of SCI and prompt intervention to reverse permanent paraplegia in the majority of cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-607
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number5
Early online date19 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic/surgery
  • Endovascular Procedures/adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia/etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia/complications


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