Association of upper extremity and neck access with stroke in endovascular aortic repair

Anastasia Plotkin, Li Ding, Sukgu M. Han, Gustavo S. Oderich, Benjamin W. Starnes, Jason T. Lee, Mahmoud B. Malas, Fred A. Weaver, Gregory A. Magee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Upper extremity and neck access is commonly used for complex endovascular aortic repairs. We sought to compare perioperative stroke and other complications of (1) arm/neck (AN) and femoral or iliac access versus femoral/iliac (FI) access alone, (2) right- versus left-sided AN, and (3) specific arm versus neck access sites. Methods: Patients entered in the thoracic endovascular aortic repair/complex endovascular aortic repair registry in the Vascular Quality Initiative from 2009 to 2018 were analyzed. Patients with a missing access variable and aortic arch proximal landing zone were excluded. The primary outcome was perioperative in-hospital stroke. Secondary outcomes were other postoperative complications and 1-year survival. Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank test were used for survival analysis. Results: Of 11,621 patients with 11,774 recorded operations, 6691 operations in 6602 patients met criteria for analysis (1418 AN, 5273 FI). AN patients had a higher rate of smoking history (83.6% vs 76.1%; P <.0001), and prior stroke (12.6% vs 10.1%; P =.01). Operative time (280 ± 124 minutes vs 157 ± 102 minutes; P <.0001), contrast load (141 ± 82 mL vs 103 ± 67 mL; P <.0001), and estimated blood loss (300 mL vs 100 mL; P <.0001) were larger in the AN group, indicative of greater complexity cases. Overall, AN had a higher rate of stroke (3.1% vs 1.8%; P =.003) compared with FI and on multivariable analysis AN access was found to be an independent risk factor for stroke (odds ratio, 1.97; P =.0003). There was no difference in stroke when comparing right- and left-sided AN access (2.8% vs 3.2%; P =.71). Stroke rates were similar between arm, axillary, and multiple access sites, but were significantly higher in patients with carotid access (2.6% vs 3.5% vs 13% vs 3.7%; P =.04). AN also had higher rates of puncture site hematoma, access site occlusion, arm ischemia, and in-hospital mortality (7.1% vs 4.2%; P <.0001). At 1 year, AN had a lower survival rate (85.1% vs 88.1%; P =.03). Conclusions: Upper extremity and neck access for complex aortic repairs has a higher risk of stroke compared with femoral and iliac access alone. Right-sided access does not have a higher stroke rate than left-sided access. Carotid access has a higher stroke rate than axillary, arm, and multiple arm/neck access sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1602-1609
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Access
  • Arm
  • Complex EVAR
  • Neck
  • Stroke
  • Tevar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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