Objectives: To evaluate aortic distensibility and pulse waveform patterns associated with the ascending aortic aneurysm, and to analyze the postoperative and mid-term hemodynamic changes induced by prosthetic replacement of the ascending aorta. Methods: Central blood pressure waves were recorded at the carotid artery level by means of a validated transcutaneous arterial tonometer in 30 patients undergoing prosthetic replacement of ascending aortic aneurysm and in 30 control patients. Measurements were obtained the day before surgery and 5 to 7 days and 16 to 20 months after surgery. Results: The ascending aortic aneurysm was associated with a less steep slope of early systolic phase of the pressure curve (pulsus tardus) compared with a control group (0.54 ± 0.18 mm Hg/ms vs 0.69 ± 0.26 mm Hg/ms; P = .011). Replacing the ascending aorta with a noncompliant vascular prosthesis steepened the pulse pressure slope during the early systolic phase in the postoperative period (0.77 ± .29 mm Hg/ms), providing values comparable with those of the control group in the mid-term (0.67 ± .20 mm Hg/ms). No change in aortic stiffness was found either postoperatively or in the mid-term after ascending aorta surgical replacement (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity: preoperative, 9.0 ± 2.6 m/s; postoperative, 9.0 ± 2.9 m/s; mid-term postoperative, 9.3 ± 2.8 m/s). Conclusions: This study does not confirm the assumption that substitution of the viscoelastic ascending aorta with a rigid prosthesis can cause serious hemodynamic alterations downstream, because we did not observe a worsening of global aortic distensibility after insertion of a rigid prosthetic aorta. The ascending aortic aneurysm is associated with a pulsus tardus.
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