The effect of left subclavian artery coverage on morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing endovascular thoracic aortic interventions: A systematic review and meta-analysis

150 Scopus citations


Objectives: Thoracic endografts (stent grafts) have emerged as a less invasive modality to treat various thoracic aortic lesions. The intentional coverage of the left subclavian artery (LSA) during the placement of these endografts is associated with several complications including stroke, spinal cord ischemia, and arm ischemia. In this review, we synthesize the available evidence regarding the complications associated with LSA coverage. Methods: We searched electronic databases (MEDLINE and EMBASE) from January 1990 through February 2008 for studies that included patients who received thoracic endografts and had intentional LSA coverage. Eligible studies had a control group that either received the endograft without LSA coverage or had primary revascularization prior to coverage. Two independent reviewers determined trial eligibility and extracted descriptive, methodological and outcome data from each eligible study. Meta-analyses estimated Peto odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to describe the strength of association between coverage and complications; the I 2 statistic described the proportion of inconsistency of treatment effect among studies not due to chance. Results: We found 51 eligible observational studies. LSA coverage was associated with significant increase in the risk of arm ischemia (OR 47.7; CI, 9.9-229.3; I 2 = 72%, 19 studies) and vertebrobasilar ischemia (OR 10.8; CI, 3.17-36.7; I 2 = 0%; eight studies); and nonsignificant increase in the risk of spinal cord ischemia (OR 2.69; CI, 0.75-9.68; I 2 = 40%; eight studies) and anterior circulation stroke (OR 2.58; CI, 0.82-8.09; I 2 = 64%, 13 studies). There were no significant associations between LSA coverage and death, myocardial infarction, or transient ischemic attacks. The incidence of phrenic nerve injury as a complication of primary revascularization was 4.40% (CI, 1.60%-12.20%). Data on perioperative infection were sparse and rarely reported. Conclusions: Very low quality evidence suggests that LSA coverage increases the risk of arm ischemia, vertebrobasilar ischemia, and possibly spinal cord ischemia and anterior circulation stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1159-1169
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery

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