Selective Versus Routine Spinal Drain Use for Fenestrated/Branched Endovascular Aortic Repair (F-BEVAR)

Carla K. Scott, David E. Timaran, Fatemeh Malekpour, Marc Salhanick, Marilisa Soto-Gonzalez, Mirza S. Baig, Carlos H. Timaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Spinal drains are used to ameliorate spinal cord ischemia (SCI), but their use may result in inherent morbidity and mortality. Although prophylactic spinal drain has proven of benefit in open repairs, that is not the case for endovascular repairs. The aim of this study was to assess the outcomes of spinal cord protection with and without the routine use of spinal drains during fenestrated-branched endovascular repair (F-BEVAR). Methods: A retrospective single center study was performed using a prospectively maintained dataset of all patients undergoing F-BEVAR over a 4-year period. The primary endpoint of the study was the frequency of SCI. Prophylactic spinal drain was placed pre-operatively in 33 patients (23%) with a median time for removal of 3 days (IQR, 2-3 days). Routine intraoperative neuromonitoring was used. Spinal cord protection relied primarily on maintaining a perioperative systolic blood pressure between 140 and 160 mm Hg or a mean arterial pressure >90 mm Hg, avoiding hypotension, preservation of as many collateral beds as possible, staged repairs and early lower extremity reperfusion based on neuromonitoring. Results: A total of 145 patients, 104 men (71%) and 41 women (28%) with a median age of 70 years (interquartile range [IQR], 53–62) underwent F-BEVAR. Branched custom-made devices (CMDs) (11%), fenestrated CMDs (70%) and off-the-shelf T-Branch device (17%) were used with a median number of branches/fenestrations of 4 (IQR, 3–4). SVS classification of implantation zones were determined as follows: 9 (6%) zone 2, 21 (20%) zone 3, 26 (18%) zone 4 and 89 (61%) zone 5. SCI was present in 8 patients (5.5%) and classified according to the SVS SCI grading system as follows: 1 grade 1, 5 grade 2 and 2 grade 3a. When evaluating implantation zone independently of coverage length and patency of collateral beds, a high implantation zone (1–4) was not associated with SCI (P = 0.9). Similarly, prophylactic spinal drain did not demonstrate association with the occurrence of SCI (3[9%] vs. 5[4%], with and without spinal drain, respectively) (P = 0.3). For patients with high implantation zones, staged repair was performed in 38 patients (26%) at a median time of 2 months (IQR, 2–6 months). Among these patients, the frequency of SCI was 13%. Staged repair was associated with an 80% reduction in the frequency of SCI (OR, 0.19 [95% CI, 0.04–0.084]) (P = 0.02). Conclusion: F-BEVAR can be performed with a minimal risk of SCI without the need for routine prophylactic spinal drains. High implantation zones did not predict SCI after F-BEVAR; however, staged repair significantly decreased the risk of SCI after F-BEVAR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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