American heart journal, Volume 249, 15 3 2022, Pages 66-75 Computed tomography follow-up after elective proximal aortic surgery: Less is more? de Oliveira Marreiros DJ, Tomšič A, van Brakel TJ, Hamming JF, Scholte AJHA, Hjortnaes J, Klautz RJM

Study objective

The added value of computed tomography (CT) follow-up after elective proximal aortic surgery is unclear. We evaluated the benefit of CT follow-up by assessing the incidence of aorta-related complications and reinterventions detected during routine CT follow-up.


Data on 314 patients undergoing first time elective proximal aortic surgery between 2000 and 2015 were collected. The primary study end points were aorta-related complications and reinterventions, detected during routine CT follow-up. Secondary study endpoints included all aorta-related complications and reinterventions, irrespective of the mode of detection and survival.


Median CT follow-up time was 6.8 (IQR 4.1-9.8) years, during which a total of 1303 routine follow-up CT-scans (median 4, IQR 3-5) were performed. During CT follow-up, aorta-related complications were detected in 18 (5.7%) patients, of which 6 (1.6%) underwent reintervention. In total, 28 aorta-related complications were observed in 23 (7.3%) patients, of which 9 led to reintervention. In order to detect 1 aorta-related complication leading to reintervention, 218 routine follow-up CT-scans were required. The unadjusted and EuroSCORE II adjusted hazard ratios of not undergoing CT follow-up on mortality were 1.260 (95% CI 0.705-2.251) and 0.830 (95% CI 0.430-1.605), respectively.


Following first time elective proximal aortic surgery, aorta-related complications are uncommon, are not always detected during CT follow-up and, if detected, often do not result in reintervention. Therefore, a more conservative CT follow-up protocol could be considered in selected patients to reduce lifetime radiation burden and health care costs.

Am Heart J. 2022 4;249:66-75