Open Access Research article

Aortic replacement in aorto-occlusive disease: an observational study

Gareth Morris-Stiff1*, Samuel Ogunbiyi1, Richard K Winter2, Russell Brown3 and Michael H Lewis1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taf, UK

2 Department of Radiology, Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taf, UK

3 Health Solutions Wales, Cardiff, Cardiff, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Surgery 2008, 8:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-19

Published: 31 October 2008



For many patients with aorto-occlusive disease, where stent deployment is not possible, surgery remains the only treatment option available. The aim of this study was to assess the results of aortic reconstruction surgery performed in patients with critical ischaemia.


All patients with critical ischaemia undergoing surgery during 1991–2004 were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Mortality data was verified against death certificate data. Demographic and clinical data were obtained from the clinical notes and the radiology database. Disease was classified as: type I – limited to aorta and common iliac arteries; type II – external iliac disease and type III combined aortic, iliac and infra-inguinal disease.


86 patients underwent aortic replacement surgery all of whom had critical ischaemia consisting of: type I (n = 16); type II (n = 37) and type III (n = 33). The 30-day mortality rate was 10.4%, the one-year patient survival was 80%, and the 1-year graft survival was 80%. At 2 years the actual patient survival was 73% and no additional graft losses were identified. All patients surviving 30 days reported excellent symptomatic relief. Early, complications occurred in 6 (7%) patients: thrombosis within diseased superficial femoral arteries (n = 4); haemorrhage and subsequent death (n = 2). Ten (14%) late complications (> 12 months) occurred in the 69 surviving patients and included: anastomotic stenosis (n = 3); graft thrombosis (n = 4), graft infection (n = 3). Four patients developed claudication as a result of more distal disease in the presence of a patent graft, and 1 patient who continued smoking required an amputation for progressive distal disease.


Aortic reconstruction for patients with extensive aorto-occlussive disease provides long-standing symptomatic relief for the majority of patients. After the first year, there is continued patient attrition due to co-existent cardiovascular disease but no further graft losses.