Collateral network concept in 2023
Extensive thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair can cause spinal cord ischemia which significantly impacts survival and quality of life. Although this complication is uncommon, it is important to recognize the pathophysiology and preventative measures. In the 1990s, Dr. Griepp and colleagues proposed the existence of an extensive collateral network that supports spinal cord perfusion, “the collateral network concept”. This includes an interconnecting complex of vessels in the intraspinal, paraspinous, and epidural spaces, and in the paravertebral muscles, involving the intercostal and lumbar segmental arteries as well as the subclavian and hypogastric (iliac) arteries. In this concept, as opposed to the one major segmental input model such as the Adamkiewicz artery, recognition of the importance of multiple inputs to the spinal circulation is paramount to maintaining the spinal blood flow and preventing spinal cord ischemia. In this article, we review the current evidence of the collateral concept and its application in aortic surgery.