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There have been significant advances in the technique and application of endovascular repair of thoracic aortic pathology over the past 20 years. The Stanford type A and the complicated type B dissection patients require urgent/emergent intervention. In the last decade, earlier intervention has been pursued for uncomplicated type B dissections. The INvestigation of STent-grafts in Aortic Dissection (INSTEAD) Long term (XL) study showed that there was significant crossover from medical management to Thoracic EndoVascular Aortic Repair (TEVAR) at year 3, suggesting TEVAR might benefit this population long term.
Today, the application of TEVAR, which was initially designed to address aneurysmal disease, has become a standard and Food and Drug Administrative (FDA) approved management option in dissections.
Currently there are four FDA approved TEVAR devices in the United States for the treatment of the thoracic dissections, namely Gore, Medtronic, Cook, and Terumo. With each iteration, there are increased opportunities for customization and widespread use in individualized patient’s pathology. As the technology improves and the feasibility of the grafts expands, the complication rates continue to decline cementing the safety and efficacy of these thoracic aortic grafts. Two rare but catastrophic complications in spinal ischemia and retrograde Stanford type A aortic dissection are further discussed. With the success of the TEVAR, a new frontier of hybrid aortic surgery has developed. The debranching of the aortic arch vessels in order to advance the TEVAR proximal landing zones has been aggressively pursued. With the widespread growth of TEVAR technology it is apparent that complex aortic pathology can be safely repaired endovascularly.
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