OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine predictors and outcomes associated with spinal cord ischemia (SCI) after elective fenestrated or branched endovascular aneurysm repair (F/BEVAR) of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), or aortic dissection.
METHODS: Health insurance claims data of Germany's third largest insurance provider, DAK-Gesundheit, were used to investigate SCI in elective F/BEVAR performed between 2008 and 2017. The International Classification of Diseases and German Operation and Procedure Classification System were used. We stratified the results into F/BEVAR with one or two (AAA) vs three or more (TAAA) fenestrations or branches.
RESULTS: A total of 877 patients (18.9% female; 5.8% with SCI) matching the inclusion criteria were identified during the study period. SCI occurred more often after F/BEVAR of TAAA vs AAA (10.7% vs 3.0%; P < .001). SCI was associated with female sex in the AAA group (odds ratio, 3.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.25-11.15; P = .014) and with cardiac arrhythmias in the TAAA group (odds ratio, 2.98; 95% CI, 1.24-7.06; P = .013). Compared with patients without SCI, SCI patients were more likely to suffer from drug use disorders (eg, opioids, cannabinoids, sedatives) in the TAAA group (17.6% vs 2.1%; P < .05). After F/BEVAR of TAAA, the occurrence of SCI was associated with higher 90-day mortality (14.7% vs 1.1%; P < .05), longer postoperative hospital stay (22 vs 9 days; P < .05), and severe adverse events, such as acute respiratory insufficiency (44.1% vs 12.7%), acute renal failure (35.3% vs 11.3%), and pneumonia (29.4% vs 4.9%; all P < .05). In adjusted analyses, SCI was associated with worse long-term survival after F/BEVAR for TAAA (hazard ratio, 2.54; 95% CI, 1.37-4.73; P < .003).
CONCLUSIONS: Female AAA patients and TAAA patients with cardiac arrhythmias are at highest risk for development of SCI after F/BEVAR. The occurrence of this event was strongly associated with higher major complication rates and worse short-term and long-term survival. This emphasizes a need to further illuminate the value of spinal cord protection protocols in F/BEVAR.