BACKGROUND: The current paradigm of brain protection in aortic surgery falls short of delivering good outcomes with minimal complications. A renewed understanding of neuroprotective methods and biomarkers to predict brain injury and aortic disease are crucial towards the development of more effective clinical management strategies.
METHODS: A review of current literature was carried out to identify current flaws in our approach to neuroprotection in aortic surgery. Emerging evidence surrounding neuroprotective strategies, biomarkers for brain injury, and biomarkers for predicting aortic disease are evaluated in terms of their impact for future therapeutic approaches.
RESULTS: Current literature suggests that the prevailing methods of neuroprotection need renewal. Clinical outcomes associated with deep hypothermic circulatory arrest remain varied. Branch-first and endovascular approaches to aortic repair are particularly promising alternatives. The use of biomarkers to identify and manage brain injury, as well as to diagnose aortic disease in the nonacute and acute settings, would further help to improve our overall paradigm of neuroprotection in aortic surgery.
CONCLUSIONS: Though much prospective research is still required, the outlook for neuroprotection in aortic surgery is promising. Adopting alternative surgical techniques and exploiting predictive novel biomarkers will help us to gradually eliminate the risk of brain damage in aortic surgery.