Comparison of upper extremity and transfemoral access for fenestrated-branched endovascular aortic repair

U.S. Aortic Research Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The use of upper extremity (UE) access is an accepted and often implemented approach for fenestrated/branched endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (F-BEVAR). The advent of steerable sheaths has enabled the performance of F-BEVAR using a total transfemoral (TF) approach without UE access, potentially decreasing the risks of cerebral embolic events. The purpose of the present study was to assess the outcomes of F-BEVAR using UE vs TF access. Methods: Prospectively collected data from nine physician-sponsored investigational device exemption studies at U.S. centers were analyzed using a standardized database. All patients were treated for complex abdominal aortic aneurysms (CAAAs) and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (TAAAs) using industry-manufactured fenestrated and branched stent grafts between 2005 and 2020. The outcomes were compared between patients who had undergone UE vs total TF access. The primary composite outcome was stroke or transient ischemia attack (TIA) and 30-day or in-patient mortality during the perioperative period. The secondary outcomes included technical success, local access-related complications, and perioperative mortality. Results: Among 1681 patients (71% men; mean age, 73.43 ± 7.8 years) who had undergone F-BEVAR, 502 had had CAAAs (30%), 535 had had extent IV TAAAs (32%), and 644 had had extent I to III TAAAs (38%). UE access was used for 1103 patients (67%). The right side was used for 395 patients (24%) and the left side for 705 patients (42%). UE access was preferentially used for TAAAs (74% vs 47%; P < .001). In contrast, TF access was used more frequently for CAAAs (53% vs 26%; P < .01). A total of 38 perioperative cerebrovascular events (2.5%), including 32 strokes (1.9%) and 6 TIAs (0.4%), had occurred. Perioperative cerebrovascular events had occurred more frequently with UE access than with TF access (2.8% vs 1.2%; P = .036). An individual component analysis of the primary composite outcome revealed a trend for more frequent strokes (2.3% vs 1.2%; P = .13) and TIAs (0.54% vs 0%; P = .10) in the UE access group. On multivariable analysis, total TF access was associated with a 60% reduction in the frequency of perioperative cerebrovascular events (odds ratio, 0.39; P = .029). No significant differences were observed between UE and TF access in the technical success rate (96.5% vs 96.8%; P = .72), perioperative mortality (2.9% vs 2.6%; P = .72), or local access-related complications (6.5% vs 5.5%; P = .43). Conclusions: In the present large, multicenter, retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data, a total TF approach for F-BEVAR was associated with a lower rate of perioperative cerebrovascular events compared with UE access. Although the cerebrovascular event rate was low with UE access, the TF approach offered a lower risk of stroke and TIA. UE access will continue to play a role for appropriately selected patients requiring more complex repairs with anatomy not amenable to the TF approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-711
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • CVA
  • Cerebral embolism
  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Neurologic complications
  • Stroke
  • Thoracoabdominal aneurysm
  • Upper extremity access
  • Vascular access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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