Most aortic surgeries involve rebuilding the aortic arch, which requires alteration of the normal blood flow to the brain. Since blood flow to the brain must continue at all times to ensure patients' safety, it is imperative for the surgical team to carefully monitor patients throughout surgery. Our surgeons use a non-invasive method, oximetry pads placed on the scalp, to monitor the oxygen levels in the brain.
To maintain blood flow to the brain, the team uses antegrade cerebral perfusion rather than circulatory arrest, which is used in most other institutions. Antegrade cerebral perfusion does not increase the risk of stroke like circulatory arrest does; Columbia has a very low rate of stroke compared to the national average.