Epiaortic Ultrasound for Assessment of Intraluminal Atheroma; Insights from the REGROUP Trial


Alexander D Shapeton, Kay B Leissner, Suzana M Zorca, Houman Amirfarzan, Eileen M Stock, Kousick Biswas, Miguel Haime, Venkatesh Srinivasa, Jacquelyn A Quin, and Marco A Zenati. 2020. “Epiaortic Ultrasound for Assessment of Intraluminal Atheroma; Insights from the REGROUP Trial.” J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth, 34, 3, Pp. 726-732.


OBJECTIVES: To assess the use of epiaortic ultrasound in contemporary cardiac surgery, as well as its impact on surgical cannulation strategy and cerebrovascular events. DESIGN: Epiaortic ultrasound data was prospectively collected in the Randomized Endovein Graft Prospective (REGROUP) trial (VA Cooperative Studies Program #588, ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01850082), which randomized 1,150 coronary artery bypass graft patients between 2014 and 2017 to endoscopic or open-vein graft harvest. SETTING: Sixteen cardiac surgery programs within the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System with expertise at performing endoscopic vein-graft harvesting. PARTICIPANTS: Veterans Affairs patients, greater than 18 years of age, undergoing elective or urgent coronary artery bypass grafting with cardiopulmonary bypass and cardioplegic arrest with at least one planned saphenous vein graft were eligible for enrollment. INTERVENTIONS: Epiaortic ultrasound was performed by the surgeon using a high frequency (>7 MHz) ultrasound transducer. Two-dimensional images of the ascending aorta in multiple planes were acquired before aortic cannulation and cross-clamping. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Epiaortic ultrasound was performed in 34.1% (269 of 790) of patients in REGROUP. Among these patients, simple intraluminal atheroma was observed in 21.9% (59 269), and complex intraluminal atheroma comprised 2.2% (6 of 269). The aortic cannulation or cross-clamp strategy was modified based on these findings in 7.1% of cases (19 of 269). There was no difference in stroke between patients who underwent epiaortic ultrasound and those who did not (1.9% v 1.2% p = 0.523). CONCLUSIONS: Despite current guidelines recommending routine use of epiaortic ultrasound (IIa/B) to reduce the risk of stroke in cardiac surgery, in this contemporary trial, use remains infrequent, with significant site-to-site variability.
Last updated on 02/17/2022