We compared the management of patients with symptomatic, unruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) treated at a tertiary care center between two decades. This 20-year period encapsulated a shift in surgical approach to aortic aneurysms from primarily open to primarily endovascular, and we sought to determine the effect of this shift in the evaluation, treatment, and clinical outcomes of patients with symptomatic AAA.We reviewed 1429 consecutive patients with unruptured AAAs treated at a tertiary care hospital by six staff surgeons between 1995 and 2004 (era 1) and between 2005 and 2014 (era 2). Of those patients, 160 (11%) were symptomatic from their aneurysm and were included in our study. Patient demographics, operative approach, and outcomes were analyzed and compared for each period.Era 1 included 75 patients (71% men; average age, 73.1 ± 10.0 years) treated for symptomatic AAA (91.9% infrarenal, 4.0% juxtarenal, and 4.0% pararenal); of these, 68% were treated with open repair and 32.0% were treated with an endovascular repair. Perioperative mortality during this period was 5.3% (7.8% for the open cohort and 0% for the endovascular cohort). Era 2 included 85 patients (72.9% men; average age 72.0 ± 9.5 years) treated for symptomatic AAA (90.1% infrarenal, 7.5% juxtarenal, and 2.4% pararenal); of these, 29% were treated open and 71% underwent endovascular repair. Perioperative mortality was 5.9% (8.0% for the open cohort and 5.0% for the endovascular cohort). Era 2 had a significantly higher rate of endovascular repair compared with era 1 (71% vs 32%; P < .0001) and a trend toward decreased long-term mortality. The length of stay for era 2 was significantly reduced compared with era 1 (4 days vs 6 days; P = .005).To our knowledge, this is the largest single-institution cohort of symptomatic AAAs, which comprise 10% to 11% of overall aneurysms. As expected, we found a significant shift over time in the approach to these patients from a primarily open to a primarily endovascular technique. The modern era was also associated with decreased lengths of stay and fewer gastrointestinal and wound complications but no significant differences in overall perioperative mortality.
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