To achieve an optimal sealing zone during endovascular aneurysm repair, the intended positioning of the proximal end of the endograft fabric should be as close as possible to the most caudal edge of the renal arteries. Some endografts exhibit a small offset between the radiopaque markers and the proximal fabric edge. Unintended partial renal artery coverage may thus occur. This study investigated the consequences of partial coverage on renal flow patterns and wall shear stress (WSS).
In vitro models of an abdominal aortic aneurysm were used to visualize pulsatile flow using two-dimensional particle image velocimetry under physiologic resting conditions. One model served as control and two models were stented with an Endurant endograft (Medtronic Inc, Minneapolis, Minn), one without and one with partial renal artery coverage with 1.3 mm of stent fabric extending beyond the marker (16% area coverage). The magnitude and oscillation of WSS, relative residence time, and backflow in the renal artery were analyzed.
In both stented models, a region along the caudal renal artery wall presented with low and oscillating WSS, not present in the control model. A region with very low WSS (<0.1 Pa) was present in the model with partial coverage over a length of 7 mm compared with a length of 2 mm in the model without renal coverage. Average renal backflow area percentage in the renal artery incrementally increased from control (0.9%) to the stented model without (6.4%) and with renal coverage (18.8%).
In this flow model, partial renal coverage after endovascular aneurysm repair causes low and marked oscillations in WSS, potentially promoting atherosclerosis and subsequent renal artery stenosis. Awareness of the device-dependent offset between the fabric edge and the radiopaque markers is therefore important in endovascular practice.
The location of the proximal markers of endovascular aneurysm repair devices is not always at the most proximal site of the graft material, and as such, part of the coverage material may be placed over the orifice of the renal artery. A recent analysis showed an incidence of inadvertent partial coverage of 28%. The association of a slight renal artery coverage with adverse flow patterns in this study stresses the importance of avoiding any renal artery coverage during deployment of the main body. The results further act to emphasize the importance of optimal C-arm adjustment to obtain a perpendicular projection of the lowermost renal artery.