Case mix and outcomes of complex surgical procedures vary over time and between regions. This study analyses peri-operative mortality after intact abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair in 11 countries over 9 years.
Data on primary AAA repair from vascular surgery registries in 11 countries for the years 2005-2009 and 2010-2013 were analysed. Multivariate adjusted logistic regression analyses were carried out to adjust for variations in case mix.
A total of 83,253 patients were included. Over the two periods, the proportion of patients ≥80 years old increased (18.5% vs. 23.1%; p < .0001) as did the proportion of endovascular repair (EVAR) (44.3% vs. 60.6; p < .0001). In the latter period, 25.8% of AAAs were less than 5.5 cm. The mean annual volume of open repairs per centre decreased from 12.9 to 10.6 between the two periods (p < .0001), and it increased for EVAR from 10.0 to 17.1 (p < .0001). Overall, peri-operative mortality fell from 3.0% to 2.4% (p < .0001). Mortality for EVAR decreased from 1.5% to 1.1% (p < .0001), but the outcome worsened for open repair from 3.9% to 4.4% (p = .008). The peri-operative risk was greater for octogenarians (overall, 3.6% vs. 2.1%, p < .0001; open, 9.5% vs. 3.6%, p < .0001; EVAR, 1.8% vs. 0.7%, p < .0001), and women (overall, 3.8% vs. 2.2%, p < .0001; open, 6.0% vs. 4.0%, p < .0001; EVAR, 1.9% vs. 0.9%, p < .0001). Peri-operative mortality after repair of AAAs <5.5 cm was 4.4% with open repair and 1.0% with EVAR, p < .0001.
In this large international cohort, total peri-operative mortality continues to fall for the treatment of intact AAAs. The number of EVAR procedures now exceeds open procedures. Mortality after EVAR has decreased, but mortality for open operations has increased. The peri-operative mortality for small AAA treatment, particularly open surgical repair, is still considerable and should be weighed against the risk of rupture.
National differences exist in the outcome of elective abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair. The role of case mix variation was assessed based on an international vascular registry collaboration.
All elective AAA repairs with aneurysm size data in the Vascunet database in the period 2005-09 were included. AAA size and peri-operative outcome (crude and age adjusted mortality) were analysed overall and in risk cohorts, as well as per country. Glasgow Aneurysm Score (GAS) was calculated as risk score, and patients were stratified in three equal sized risk cohorts based on GAS. Predictors of peri-operative mortality were analysed with multiple regression. Missing data were handled with multiple imputation.
Patients from Australia, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Sweden and the UK (n = 5,895) were analysed; mean age was 72.7 years and 54% had endovascular repair (EVAR). There were significant variations in GAS (lowest = Finland [75.7], highest = UK [79.4], p for comparison of all regions < .001), proportion of AAA < 5.5 cm (lowest = UK [6.4%], highest = Hungary [29.0%]; p < .001), proportion undergoing EVAR (lowest = Finland [10.1%], highest = Australia [58.9%]; p < .001), crude mortality (lowest = Norway [2.0%], highest = Finland [5.0%]; p = .006), and age adjusted mortality (lowest = Norway [2.5%], highest = Finland [6.0%]; p = .048). Both aneurysm size and peri-operative mortality were highest among patients with a GAS >82. Of those with a GAS >82, 8.4% of men and 20.8% of women had an AAA <5.5 cm.
Important regional differences exist in case selection for elective AAA repair, including variations in AAA size and patient risk profile. These differences partly explain the variations in peri-operative mortality. Further audit is warranted to assess the underlying reasons for the regional variation in case-mix.