CARbon Dioxide Flooding to Reduce Postoperative Neurological Injury Following Surgery for Acute Type A Aortic Dissection (CARTA)

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Region Skane
Updated on 15 March 2022


Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition and a consequence of a tear of the innermost of the three aortic layers- the intima. When a tear occurs, blood surges through the tear and causes the flow of blood between the aortic layers, causing a "false lumen". This causes a weakening of the aortic wall and hinders the blood from reaching its target organs and life saving emergent surgery is performed as routine.

Approximately 20% of patients undergoing acute type a aortic dissection (ATAAD) surgery suffer from postoperative neurological injuries and It has been demonstrated that neurological injuries account for 10-15% of in-hospital deaths.

In association with other cardiac procedures where the left side of the heart is opened and air may be trapped within the arterial circulation, carbon dioxide flooding is used to displace open air from the surgical wound. In comparison to air, carbon dioxide is significantly more soluble in blood and may therefore decrease the risk of air embolism. In cardiac surgery, carbon dioxide flooding has been demonstrated to reduce levels of biomarkers of cerebral injury, but carbon dioxide is not routinely employed in ATAAD surgery and has not been studied in association with these procedures.

The hypothesis is that carbon dioxide flooding reduces cerebral air embolism and the aim of this project is to evaluate whether carbon dioxide flooding may reduce neurological injuries following ATAAD surgery.

This is a prospective, randomized, controlled, patient- and reviewer blinded interventional study. Patients will be randomized to undergo surgery with carbon-dioxide flooding at 5L/min to the open chest cavity or conventional surgery without carbon dioxide flooding. Remaining aspects of the procedure will be identical.

The patient, external statistician and the reviewer analyzing the primary endpoints will be blinded for the randomization arms.

The study will assess the following endpoints:

Primary outcomes: Presence, number and volume of ischaemic lesions observed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after ATAAD surgery.

Secondary outcomes: Clinical signs of neurological injury. Levels of biomarkers of neurological injury (S100B, neuron specific enolase (NSE) , neurofilament protein (NFL), Glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) , Ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) and Tau-protein (TAU)) before and after surgery. Quality of life, postoperative recovery and neurological function after ATAAD surgery. Primary outcomes in relation to retrograde cerebral perfusion.

Start of inclusion is anticipated to start Jan 1st, 2022. The writing of a manuscript describing the study methods and study objectives is expected to be started in 2021 and the final manuscript is expected to be written during 2025.

An interim analysis of the primary endpoints and the safety arm will be performed after 40 patients have been randomized. An external statistician together with the principle investigator will hereafter decide for the study to be continued or terminated due to harms, futility or superiority.

The safety arm will include intraoperative mortality, in-hospital mortality, re-operation for bleeding, stroke, myocardial infarction or other thromboembolic events.

Condition D000784, D020521
Treatment Carbon dioxide flooding
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04962646
SponsorRegion Skane
Last Modified on15 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Verified acute type A aortic dissection
Patient accepted for surgical repair

Exclusion Criteria

New-onset neurological symptoms defined as focal neurological symptoms or altered state of consciousness at time of inclusion
History of stroke with permanent neurological deficiency
Previous cardiac surgery
Surgery performed with cross clamping of the aorta without open distal anastomosis or open inspection of the distal aorta
Presence of implants or devices not compatible with Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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