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Variation in Surgical Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms With Small Aortic Diameters in the Netherlands

Eleonora G Karthaus, Anco Vahl, Leonie R van der Werf, Bernard H P Elsman, Joost A Van Herwaarden, Michel W J M Wouters, Jaap F Hamming
Annals of Surgery 2018 September 13
30216222

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate reasons to deviate from aneurysm diameter thresholds, and focus on the difference in how Dutch vascular surgical units (VSUs) perceive their deviation and their actual deviation.

BACKGROUND: Guidelines recommend surgical treatment for asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) with a diameter of at least 55 mm for men and 50 mm for women. We evaluate reasons to deviate from these guidelines, and focus on the difference in how Dutch vascular surgical units (VSUs) perceive their deviation and their actual deviation.

METHODS: All patients undergoing elective AAA repair between 2013 and 2016 registered in the Dutch Surgical Aneurysm Audit (DSAA) were included. Surgery at diameters of <55 mm for men and <50 mm for women were considered guideline deviations. National deviation and hospital variation in deviation were evaluated over time. Questionnaires were distributed among all Dutch VSUs, inquiring for acceptable reasons for guideline deviation. VSUs were asked to estimate the guideline deviation percentage in their hospital which was then compared with their DSAA percentage.

RESULTS: In all, 9039 patients were included. In 15%, we found guideline deviation, varying from 2% to 40% between VSUs. Over time, 21 VSUs were identified with a lower percentage of deviation than the national mean each year and 8 VSUs with a higher percentage. 44/60 VSUs completed the questionnaire. Most commonly reported reasons to deviate were concomitant large iliac diameter (91%) and saccular aneurysm (82%). The majority of the VSUs (77%) estimated their guideline deviation to be <5%. Eleven VSUs (25%) estimated their deviation concordant with their DSAA percentage, but 75% of VSUs underestimated their deviation.

CONCLUSIONS: Dutch VSUs regularly deviate from the guidelines regarding aneurysm diameter, with variation between VSUs. Consensus exists amongst VSUs on acceptable reasons for guideline deviations; however, the majority underestimates their actual deviation percentage.

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