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Anesthesia for endovascular aortic repair

E. Andrew Ochroch, MD, MSCE
Section Editor
Peter D Slinger, MD, FRCPC
Deputy Editor
Nancy A Nussmeier, MD, FAHA


Endovascular aortic repair (EVAR) has become a standard approach to treatment for thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms, accounting for well over half the patients who would otherwise undergo an open surgical repair. Since EVAR does not require intrathoracic or intraabdominal exposure of the aorta, or aortic cross-clamping, perioperative morbidity and mortality are reduced compared with open repair. Also, EVAR has made treatment possible for some patients with comorbidities who might not otherwise be candidates for aortic repair.

Vascular access for EVAR is achieved through access to the femoral vessels, either percutaneously or via small incisions; thus, the procedure may be accomplished with the aid of local anesthesia with monitored anesthesia care, neuraxial regional anesthesia, or general anesthesia. This topic will review the preoperative anesthesia consultation and each of these anesthetic options for thoracic or abdominal EVAR. The surgical techniques and endovascular devices used for EVAR, as well as complications of the procedure, are discussed in detail elsewhere. (See "Endovascular repair of the thoracic aorta" and "Endovascular devices for thoracic aortic repair" and "Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm" and "Endovascular devices for abdominal aortic repair" and "Complications of endovascular abdominal aortic repair".)


Most patients with thoracic and/or abdominal aortic aneurysm are older and have major cardiac and other comorbidities (eg, coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) [1]. Although endovascular aortic repair (EVAR) is associated with lower perioperative morbidity and mortality compared with open surgical repair, there is some risk that conversion to open (eg, intrathoracic or intraabdominal) repair will become necessary [2,3]. Thus, the preoperative evaluation is as thorough for EVAR as that for open repair. (See "Endovascular repair of the thoracic aorta", section on 'Medical risk assessment' and "Endovascular repair of the thoracic aorta", section on 'Preoperative preparation' and "Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm", section on 'Preoperative risk assessment'.)

Cardiovascular assessment — Either thoracic or abdominal EVAR is considered to be a procedure associated with intermediate risk for a perioperative cardiovascular event (at least 1 percent) [2,3]. We agree with the recommendations made in the 2014 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association and European Society of Cardiology/European Society of Anesthesiology guidelines regarding evaluation and management of cardiac risk in patients undergoing intermediate-risk noncardiac surgery [2,4,5].

We obtain a preoperative electrocardiogram (ECG) since it is useful to have a baseline ECG if the postoperative ECG is abnormal. The preoperative ECG is evaluated for Q-waves or significant ST-segment elevation or depression (which raises the possibility of myocardial ischemia or infarction), left ventricular hypertrophy, QTc prolongation, bundle-branch block, or arrhythmia.

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 08, 2017.
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