Background. Few studies have determined risk factors for postoperative cerebral complications associated with surgery of the aortic arch using selective cerebral perfusion. Methods. Between November 1992 and December 1998, 113 patients underwent aortic arch repair combined with selective cerebral perfusion. For each patient, three arch vessels were perfused using a single roller pump at a rectal temperature of 23°C. Results. Among the 108 patients who underwent postoperative neurologic assessment, 25 patients (23%) suffered from cerebral complications. Five patients (5%) suffered from transient neurologic disturbance and 17 patients (16%) suffered from stroke, and 7 patients (7%) of the preceding 17 patients had residual neurologic disturbance upon discharge. Three patients (3%) with either preoperative coma (n = 1) or post bypass cardiac arrest (n = 2) sustained severe global cerebral dysfunction. The occurrence of cerebral complications was not related to cerebral perfusion time. Independent risk factors for cerebral complications included a history of cerebrovascular disease, perioperative shock, distal anastomosis below the left pulmonary artery, malperfusion of extremities, and older age (> 60 years). Conclusions. Although high-level brain function was well preserved in most patients, the incidence of stroke when using current selective cerebral perfusion techniques is still high. (C) 2000 by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
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