Intraoperative Neuromonitoring for Prevention of Neurological Complications in Aortic Surgery

S. Langer*, Thomas A. Koeppel, A. Greiner, J. Kalder, Paula Rosalie Keschenau, W. H. Mess, M. J. Jacobs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: Stroke and paraplegia are devasting complications of thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic surgery. The aim of this study was to analyse the value of transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD), electroencephalogram (EEG) and motor-evoked potentials (MEP) in preventing neurological complications. Moreover, the principles, technology and surgical protocols are described. Patients and Methods: In 2009, 22 patients (4 females, 18 males) underwent thoracic or thoracoabdominal open aortic repair. We performed 2 arches with descending aortic replacement, 5 arches with TAAA repair, 2 type II, 9 type III, 3 type IV and one type V TAAA aortic repair. In 6 patients, the neuromonitoring included TCD, EEG and MEPs. In 15 patients only MEP monitoring was necessary. In one patient who was operated on in an emergency setting, neuromonitoring was not performed. The surgical approach was a left thoracotomy in 3 and a left thoracolaparotomy in 19 patients. The surgical protocol included cerebrospinal fluid drainage (n=22), moderate (n=19) or deep hypothermia (n=2), and extracorporeal circulation (n=21) with retrograde aortic perfusion and selective cerebral and/or viscerorenal perfusion. Results: In 21 patients, the neuromonitoring could be established successfully. Using TCD and EEG, a relevant cerebral ischaemia during supraaortic clamping was excluded. With a mean distal arterial pressure of 60 mmHg, the MEPs remained adequate in 15 patients (68.2%). Increasing of the blood pressure restored the MEPs in one patient. In 5 patients (22.7%), a reimplantation of segmental arteries (n=4) or of the left subclavian artery (n=1) re-established spinal cord perfusion, as indicated by restored MEPs. We had no absent MEPs at the end of the procedures. Delayed paraparesis developed in 2 patients with a haemodynamic instability during the postoperative course. Paraplegia was not observed. Conclusion: TCD, EEG and MEPs are reliable techniques to unmask cerebral or spinal cord ischaemia during aortic surgery. Immediate operative strategies based on neuromonitoring information prevent neurological complications in aortic surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-426
JournalZentralblatt für Chirurgie
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • aortic aneurysm
  • aortic surgery
  • neuromonitoring

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