Trapdoor endarterectomy for coral reef plaque of the paravisceral aorta in the modern era

Jackson S. Burton, Nathan M. Droz, Vipul Khetarpaul, Luis Sanchez, J. Westley Ohman

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Coral reef atherosclerosis of the paravisceral aorta is a rare disease whose description is confined to before contemporary vascular surgical techniques. This study aims to describe the characteristics and outcomes of patients with coral reef aorta treated with trapdoor endarterectomy at a single high-volume quaternary referral center since 2010. From 2010 to 2022, 14 patients with coral reef aorta were treated with trapdoor endarterectomy. The patient data were obtained via a retrospective medical record review. The patients were predominantly women (79%) with a median age of 65 years (interquartile range [IQR], 60-70 years). The patients universally had a tobacco smoking history and hypertension. More than 85% had previously diagnosed carotid stenosis. Two patients (14%) had undergone prior aortofemoral reconstruction, and one patient (7%) had undergone prior axillobifemoral bypass. The most common presenting symptoms were claudication (71%), chronic mesenteric ischemia (50%), and renovascular hypertension (43%). Of the 14 patients, 8 (57%) underwent isolated endarterectomy and 6 (43%) underwent concomitant aortobifemoral bypass. In addition, 13 patients (93%) required a supraceliac aortic clamp position with a median clamp time of 23 minutes (IQR, 20-30 minutes). The median estimated blood loss was 1650 mL (IQR, 1025-3000 mL). A cell saver was used in 13 procedures (93%), with a median transfusion of 563 mL (IQR, 231-900 mL). The median operative time was 341 minutes (IQR, 315-416 minutes). Eight patients (57%) experienced acute kidney injury in the postoperative period with a peak creatinine of 1.96 mg/dL (IQR, 1.50-2.84 mg/dL). The median length of stay was 11 days (IQR, 6-16 days), with an intensive care unit stay of 4 days (IQR, 2-7 days). One patient (7%) required reoperation in the immediate perioperative period for a retroperitoneal hematoma. The postoperative ankle brachial index increased from a median of 0.58 (right) and 0.57 (left) bilaterally in the preoperative period to 1.09 (right) and 1.10 (left) postoperatively. Eight patients (57%) had follow-up data available for >2 years postoperatively, with five patients (36%) having follow-up data available for >3 years. Two major adverse cardiac events were reported at the last follow-up. One patient reported mild recurrent symptoms of chronic mesenteric ischemia during 3 years of postoperatively, with no concurrent imaging findings or loss of patency found on computed tomography angiography. Symptomatic coral reef atherosclerosis of the paravisceral aorta is a complex disease rarely encountered even at high-volume referral centers. These patients can be expected to experience short-term postoperative morbidity and require intensive care. Despite these challenges, trapdoor endarterectomy is a safe and effective procedure for coral reef aorta, and most patients achieve dramatic symptomatic improvement with durable results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101383
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery Cases and Innovative Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • Aortic endarterectomy
  • Coral reef plaque
  • Trapdoor endarterectomy


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