A randomized trial comparing axillary versus innominate artery cannulation for aortic arch surgery

ACE CardioLink-3 Trial Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Cerebral protection remains the cornerstone of successful aortic surgery; however, there is no consensus as to the optimal strategy. Objective: To compare the safety and efficacy of innominate to axillary artery cannulation for delivering antegrade cerebral protection during proximal aortic arch surgery. Methods: This randomized controlled trial (The Aortic Surgery Cerebral Protection Evaluation CardioLink-3 Trial, ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02554032), conducted across 6 Canadian centers between January 2015 and June 2018, allocated 111 individuals to innominate or axillary artery cannulation. The primary safety outcome was neuroprotection per the appearance of new severe ischemic lesions on the postoperative diffusion-weighted-magnetic resonance imaging. The primary efficacy outcome was the difference in total operative time. Secondary outcomes included 30-day all-cause mortality and postoperative stroke. Results: One hundred two individuals (mean age, 63 ± 11 years) were in the primary safety per-protocol analysis. Baseline characteristics between the groups were similar. New severe ischemic lesions occurred in 19 participants (38.8%) in the axillary versus 18 (34%) in the innominate group (P for noninferiority =.0009). Total operative times were comparable (median, 293 minutes; interquartile range, 222-411 minutes) for axillary versus (298 minutes; interquartile range, 231-368 minutes) for innominate (P for superiority =.47). Stroke/transient ischemic attack occurred in 4 (7.1%) participants in the axillary versus 2 (3.6%) in the innominate group (P =.43). Thirty-day mortality, seizures, delirium, and duration of mechanical ventilation were similar in both groups. Conclusions: diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging assessments indicate that antegrade cerebral protection with innominate cannulation is safe and affords similar neuroprotection to axillary cannulation during aortic surgery, although the burden of new neurological lesions is high in both groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • antegrade cerebral protection
  • axillary artery cannulation
  • cardiopulmonary bypass
  • deep hypothermic circulatory arrest
  • diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging
  • innominate artery cannulation
  • new ischemic brain lesions
  • replacement of the ascending aorta
  • transient ischemic attack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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