Background: Resection and reconstruction of the superior vena cava (SVC) is occasionally required in the surgical treatment of intrathoracic neoplasms or symptomatic occlusion secondary to benign causes. We reviewed our institutional experience with SVC reconstruction using externally stented- polytetrafluoroethylene vascular prostheses. Methods: From 1991 to 2009, medical records of 38 patients who underwent SVC resection and reconstruction with externally stented-polytetrafluoroethylene vascular prostheses were reviewed. Indications for surgery were malignancy in 34 (89%) patients (germ cell, 13; thymoma, 10; lung cancer, 9; sarcoma, 2) and benign symptomatic occlusion in 4 (11%) patients. Results: Eighteen patients (47%) underwent right innominate vein to SVC interposition graft reconstruction, which became the favored approach during the study interval when resection of the innominate confluence was necessary. Eight patients (21%) had left innominate vein to SVC interposition grafts, earlier in the series or when the right innominate vein was unavailable. Nine patients (24%) received graft interposition of the proximal to distal SVC. The remaining 3 patients had a Y reconstruction. There were 2 perioperative mortalities. Follow-up averaged 15 months (range, 1 to 113 months), including 11 (29%) patients who died of disease. All patients demonstrated minimal to no brachiocephalic swelling at last follow-up. Twenty (53%) patients underwent imaging after an average of 24 months (range, 1 to 113 months) with only two grafts demonstrating complete occlusion. Conclusions: Although several SVC reconstructive techniques have been described, externally stented- polytetrafluoroethylene vascular prostheses are readily available for off-the-shelf use. In our experience, patency rates are high, and patients who do demonstrate graft thrombosis have minimal to no symptoms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine