Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the outcome of consecutive patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) treated concurrently by open operation and endoluminal intervention by the same surgeons during a defined interval.
Methods: Between May 1992 and May 1996, 362 consecutive patients with AAA underwent repair. Fifty-three patients who underwent open operations for ruptured AAA plus two patients who underwent endoluminal repair of false AAA and four patients who underwent secondary endoluminal repair of AAA were excluded, leaving 303 patients who underwent elective repair of true AAA in the study. The elective operations were conventional open repair (OR) in 195 patients (151 men, 44 women; mean age, 69 years) and endoluminal repair (ER) in 108 patients (100 men, 8 women; mean age, 70 years). The decision to perform ER was based on comorbidities that precluded open repair (n = 48) and patient choice (n = 60). Graft configuration in the open repair group was tubular (n = 180) and bifurcated (n = 15), and in the ER group tubular (n = 48), aortoiliac/femoral (n = 25), and bifurcated (n = 35). All procedures were performed in the operating department, and radiographic guidance was used in the ER group. Follow-up was by interview, examination and telephone. In addition, contrast-enhanced computed tomography was performed within the first 10 days after operation, 6 months and 12 months after operation, and then annually thereafter in the ER group. Outcome measures were successful exclusion of the aneurysm sac from the general circulation and survival. Data were analyzed by the life table method. Other outcome measures were length of hospital stay, length of intensive care unit stay, and operative blood loss.
Results: No significant difference was found between the perioperative mortality rate for OR (11 deaths [5.6%] in 195 patients) and ER (six deaths [5.6%] in 108 patients). Three of the six deaths in the latter group occurred in patients with successful ER, and three occurred in 18 patients with failed ER who were converted to OR Similarly, no significant difference was seen in the survival rate between the endoluminal and open repair groups when analyzed by the log-rank test (p = 0.14). The rate of graft failure, however, was significantly higher in the ER group than in the OR group (Fisher's exact test, p < 0.001). Success in the ER group was defined as continuing graft function without endoleak or conversion to open repair. Kaplan-Meier curve for graft failure times for the endoluminal group revealed a 3year graft success probability of 70%.
Conclusions: This study suggests that ER is safe, sharing the same perioperative mortality risk as OR despite 44% of the ER group being rejected as unfit for OR. Conventional open repair is the most reliable method of successfully managing AAA. The endoluminal method, however, results in shorter length of hospital stay, shorter length of intensive care unit stay, and less blood loss than the open method. Patients who opt for the endoluminal method of repair should be made aware that the minimally invasive technique carries the disadvantage of a higher failure rate.