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Saccular Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms: Patient Characteristics, Clinical Presentation, Treatment, and Outcomes in the Netherlands

Eleonora G Karthaus, Thaïs M L Tong, Anco Vahl, Jaap F Hamming
Annals of Surgery 2019 September 5

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this was to analyze differences between saccular-shaped abdominal aortic aneurysms (SaAAAs) and fusiform abdominal aortic aneurysms (FuAAAs) regarding patient characteristics, treatment, and outcome, to advise a threshold for intervention for SaAAAs.

BACKGROUND: Based on the assumption that SaAAAs are more prone to rupture, guidelines suggest early elective treatment. However, little is known about the natural history of SaAAAs and the threshold for intervention is not substantiated.

METHODS: Observational study including primary repairs of degenerative AAAs in the Netherlands between 2016 and 2018 in which the shape was registered, registered in the Dutch Surgical Aneurysm Audit (DSAA). Patients were stratified by urgency of surgery; elective versus acute (symptomatic/ruptured). Patient characteristics, treatment, and outcome were compared between SaAAAs and FuAAAs.

RESULTS: A total of 7659 primary AAA-patients were included, 6.1% (n = 471) SaAAAs and 93.9% (n = 7188) FuAAAs. There were 5945 elective patients (6.5% SaAAA) and 1714 acute (4.8% SaAAA). Acute SaAAA-patients were more often female (28.9% vs 17.2%, P = 0.007) compared with acute FuAAA-patients. SaAAAs had smaller diameters than FuAAAs, in elective (53.0 mm vs 61 mm, P = 0.000) and acute (68 mm vs 75 mm, P = 0.002) patients, even after adjusting for sex. In addition, 25.2% of acute SaAAA-patients presented with diameters <55 mm and 8.4% <45 mm, versus 8.1% and 0.6% of acute FuAAA-patients (P = 0.000). Postoperative outcomes did not significantly differ between shapes in both elective and acute patients.

CONCLUSIONS: SaAAAs become acute at smaller diameters than FuAAAs in DSAA patients. This study therefore supports the current idea that SaAAAs should be electively treated at smaller diameters than FuAAAs. The exact diameter threshold for elective treatment of SaAAAs is difficult to determine, but a diameter of 45 mm seems to be an acceptable threshold.


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