Efficacy and frequency of cerebrospinal fluid drainage in operative management of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms

Ernst Weigang, R. Sircar, P. Von Samson, M. Hartert, M. P. Siegenthaler, M. Luehr, H. Richter, G. Szabó, M. Czerny, J. Zentner, F. Beyersdorf

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Background: Paraplegia remains the most dreaded complication following thoracoabdominal aortic repair. We investigated the efficacy of cerebrospinal fluid drainage as a spinal cord-protecting modality. We also evaluated the correlation between the frequency of cerebrospinal fluid drainage and the Crawford classification. Methods: Spinal cord function was monitored during 20 open surgical procedures (group I) and 27 stent-graft implantations (group II). Evoked potentials and intracranial pressure were monitored in each operation. If intracranial pressure exceeded 15 mmHg, cerebrospinal fluid was drained. Results: Cerebrospinal fluid drainage was necessary in 75% of patients in group I (Crawford type I: 33%, type II: 40%, type III: 20%, type IV: 7%) and in 22% of patients in group II (Crawford type I: 33%, type II: 66%). Evoked potential alterations correlated with an increase in intracranial pressure. Timely cerebrospinal fluid drainage reversed these changes in 72%. Three patients remained paraplegic. Conclusion: Cerebrospinal fluid drainage is a valuable neuroprotective interventional tool to lower the risk of spinal cord ischemia. The combination of neurophysiological monitoring and cerebrospinal fluid drainage optimizes the prevention of paraplegia during aortic repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalThoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2007



  • Aortic disease
  • Aortic surgery
  • Cerebrospinal fluid drainage
  • Endovascular stent graft
  • Evoked potential
  • Spinal cord ischemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Weigang, E., Sircar, R., Von Samson, P., Hartert, M., Siegenthaler, M. P., Luehr, M., Richter, H., Szabó, G., Czerny, M., Zentner, J., & Beyersdorf, F. (2007). Efficacy and frequency of cerebrospinal fluid drainage in operative management of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms. Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon, 55(2), 73-78. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-924708