Purpose of review
The medical and surgical management of aortic disease is continually changing in search for improved outcomes. Our objective is to highlight recent advances in a few select areas pertaining to aortic disease and aortic surgery: the genetics of aortopathy, medical therapy of aortic aneurysms, advances in cardiac imaging, and operative strategies for the aortic arch.
As our understanding of the genetic basis for aortopathy continues to improve, routine genetic testing may be of value in assessing patients with genetically triggered forms of aortic disease. With regard to medical advances, treating patients with Marfan syndrome with either losartan or atenolol at an earlier stage in their disease course improves outcomes. In addition, novel imaging indices such as wall shear stress and aortic stiffness assessed by MRI may become useful markers of aortopathy and warrant further study. With regard to the optimal technique for cerebral perfusion in aortic arch surgery, high-quality data are still lacking. Finally, in patients with complex, multilevel aortic disease, the frozen elephant trunk is a viable single-stage option compared with the conventional elephant trunk, although with an increased risk for spinal cord injury.
Based on recent advances, continued studies in genetics, cardiac imaging, and surgical trials will further elucidate the etiology of aortopathy and ultimately guide management, both medically and surgically.