Objective: Patients in the Valiant Evo U.S. and international clinical trials had positive short-term outcomes; however, late structural failures, including type IIIb endoleaks have been recently discovered. Type IIIb endoleaks are serious adverse events because the repressurization of the aneurysm sac increases the risk of rupture. The purpose of the present study was to detail the imaging patterns associated with the structural failures with the aim of increasing awareness of failing graft presentation, early recognition, and prompt treatment.Methods: The Valiant Evo clinical trial was a prospective, single-arm investigation of a thoracic stent graft system. With the recent late structural failures, sites were requested to submit all available imaging studies to date to allow the core laboratory to assess for structural failures such as type IIIb endoleaks, stent ring fractures, and stent ring enlargement. Of the 100 patients originally enrolled in the trial from 2016 to 2018, the core laboratory assessed the imaging studies performed at >= 1 year for 83 patients.Results: No structural failures of the graft were reported through 1 year of follow-up. At 1 to 4 years, graft structural failures were detected in 11 patients with descending thoracic aortic aneurysms. Of the 11 patients, 5 had a type IIIb endoleak. Four of the five had imaging findings showing stent fractures consistent with the location of the graft seam and one had a type IIIb endoleak attributed to calcium erosion with no stent fracture or ring enlargement. Of the four patients with stent fracture in line with the graft seam, three underwent a relining procedure that successfully excluded the type IIIb endoleak. One of these three patients died 4 days later of suspected thoracic aortic rupture because the distal thoracic endovascular aortic repair extension had been landed in a previously dissected and fragile section of the aorta. The remaining six patients had had stent ring enlargement. One of the six patients had had persistent aneurysm expansion from the time of implantation onward and had died of unknown causes. The remaining five patients have continued to be monitored.Conclusions: In the present preliminary analysis, the imaging patterns associated with type IIIb endoleaks, stent fractures, and stent ring enlargement appear to be related to the loss of seam integrity or detachment of the stent rings from the surface of the graft material. The imaging patterns we have detailed should be closely monitored using computed tomography angiography surveillance to allow structural failures to be promptly identified and treated.
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