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Thoracic Aortic Surgery

Torrance Memorial's Thoracic Aortic Surgery Program specializes in the surgical treatment of aortic disease affecting the thoracic aorta, which may cause dilation, aneurysm and dissection.

When the risk of aortic dissection or rupture is greater than that associated with surgery, elective surgery is offered to replace the diseased section of the aorta with a Dacron graft. If necessary the aortic valve may also be either repaired or replaced. The following are Thoracic Aortic surgical options:

Thoracic Aortic Resection

The surgical removal of some portion of diseased aorta. A Dacron graft is used to replace your diseased aortic tissue and is compatible with your body, so rejection is not an issue and calcification does not occur.

Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest

Surgeries that remove a portion of the aorta temporarily stop blood circulation under controlled conditions. To prevent injury to your brain, hypothermic circulatory arrest, also called total circulatory arrest (TCA), is used to temporarily suspend blood flow under very cold body temperatures. At these cold temperatures, cellular activity levels slow significantly, and blood circulation can be stopped for up to 30 to 40 minutes without harm to you. This allows surgery to safely be performed on your aorta. A majority of thoracic aortic surgery patients will need a short TCA time of 15 to 30 minutes.

Selective Cerebral Perfusion

Another safety procedure that may be used during hypothermic circulatory arrest to protect your brain is selective cerebral perfusion, which ensures oxygenated blood reaches your brain. With selective cerebral perfusion, the surgeon will make a second incision in your upper chest and place a cannula in an artery to deliver blood to your brain while the rest of your circulation is stopped. This helps prevent brain injury during hypothermic circulatory arrest. When the cannula is removed, the incision will be sutured and closed.

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