Outcomes of endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair compared with open surgical repair in high-risk patients: results from the Swedish Vascular Registry

Carl Magnus Wahlgren, Jonas Malmstedt et al.
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2008, 48 (6): 1382-8; discussion 1388-9

BACKGROUND: The management of infrarenal aortic aneurysms in high-risk patients remains a challenge. Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) is associated with superior short-term mortality rates but unclear long-term results and has not been shown to improve survival in patients unfit for open repair (OR). The aim of this population-based study was to evaluate the outcome after elective EVAR compared with OR in a high-risk patient cohort.

METHODS: Prospectively collected data from January 2000 to December 2006 were retrieved from the Swedish Vascular Registry. The high-risk cohort was defined as age >or=60 years, American Anesthesiologists Association (ASA) class 3 or 4, and at least one cardiac, pulmonary, or renal comorbidity. These criteria were met by 217 of 1000 EVAR patients and 483 of 2831 OR patients. Primary end points were 30-day and 1-year all-cause mortality. Kaplan-Meier curves for survival and multivariate Cox regression analyses were performed.

RESULTS: The crude 30-day and 1-year all-cause mortality rates for EVAR vs OR for the whole treatment group (n = 3831) were 1.8% vs 2.8% and 8.0% vs 7.2%, respectively. In the high-risk cohort (n = 700), EVAR patients were approximately 2 years older and renal insufficiency and diabetes mellitus were more common, and smoking was more prevalent in the OR group. About two-thirds of EVAR procedures were performed at university hospitals and one-half of OR procedures were performed at county hospitals. In the high-risk cohort, there was no difference in mortality at 30-days (EVAR, 4.6% vs OR, 3.3%), but OR had lower 1-year mortality (8.5% vs 15.9%; P = .003). More bleeding complications occurred in the EVAR group, but more pulmonary complications occurred in the OR group; however, there was no difference in cardiac, cerebrovascular, or renal complications. The mean follow-up was 3.4 years. EVAR was associated with increased mortality risk after adjusting for age, ASA class, and comorbidities (hazard ratio, 1.50; 95% confidence interval, 1.07-2.12; P = .02). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a lower mortality rate for patients undergoing OR, which remained during follow-up (P = .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Elective OR of aortic aneurysms seems to have a better outcome compared with EVAR in this specific, population-based, high-risk patient cohort after adjusting for covariates. We cannot confirm the benefit of EVAR from previous registry studies with a similar high-risk definition. In clinical practice, OR may be at least as good as EVAR in high-risk patients fit for surgery.

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