Long-term outcomes after repair of symptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysms

Venita Chandra, Karen Trang, Whitt Virgin-Downey, Ronald L Dalman, Matthew W Mell
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2018, 68 (5): 1360-1366

OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have reported increased perioperative mortality of nonruptured symptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysms (Sx-AAA) compared with asymptomatic elective AAA (E-AAA) repairs, but no long-term-outcomes have been reported. We sought to compare long-term outcomes of Sx-AAA and E-AAA after repair at a single academic institution.

METHODS: Patients receiving AAA repair for Sx-AAA and E-AAA from 1995 through 2015 were included. Ruptured AAA and suprarenal or thoracoabdominal AAA were excluded. Demographics, comorbidities, and operative approach were collected. Long-term mortality was the primary outcome, determined by chart review or link to Social Security Death Index. Additionally, long-term mortality and reinterventions were compared after groups were matched with nearest neighbor propensity to reduce bias.

RESULTS: AAA repair was performed for 1054 E-AAA (383 open repair [36%], 671 endovascular aneurysm repair [EVAR] [64%]), and 139 symptomatic aneurysms (60 open repair [43%], 79 EVAR [57%]). Age (73 years vs 74 years; P = .13) and aneurysm diameter were similar between Sx-AAA and E-AAA (6.0 cm vs 5.8 cm; P = .5). The proportion of women was higher for Sx-AAA (26% vs 16%; P = .003), as was the proportion of non-Caucasians (40% vs 29%; P = .009). After propensity matching, there were no differences between groups for patient characteristics, AAA diameter, treatment modality, or comorbidities, including hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, lung disease, diabetes, renal disease, and smoking history. Women were treated for Sx-AAA at significantly smaller aortic diameters; however, compared with men (5.1 cm vs 6.3 cm; P < .001). Perioperative mortality was 5.0% for Sx-AAA and 2.3% for E-AAA (P = .055). By life-table analysis, Sx-AAA had lower 5-year (62% vs 71%) and 10-year (39% vs 51%) survivals (P = .01) compared with E-AAA for the entire cohort. Similar trends were observed for 5-year and 10-year mortality after propensity matching (63% and 40% vs 71% and 52%; P = .05). When stratified by repair type 5-year and 10-year survivals trended lower after open surgery (68% and 42% Sx-AAA vs 84% and 59% E-AAA; P = .08) but not EVAR (59% and 40% Sx-AAA vs 61% and 49% E-AAA; P = .4). Aneurysm-related reinterventions were similar for Sx-AAA and E-AAA (15% vs 14%; P = .8). Reinterventions were more common after EVAR compared with open repair (22% vs 7%, Sx-AAA P = .015; 20% vs 4% E-AAA; P = .007).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with Sx-AAA had lower long-term survival and similar aneurysm-related reinterventions compared with patients with E-AAA undergoing repair. Women also underwent repair for Sx-AAA at a significantly smaller size when compared with men, which emphasizes the role of gender in AAA symptomatology. Differences in long-term survival may be only partially explained by measured patient, aneurysm, and operative factors, and may reflect unmeasured social factors or suggest inherent differences in pathophysiology of Sx-AAAs.

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