Conservation and New Technology: The Impact on Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Bush, Ruth L.; Najibi, Sasan; Lin, Peter H.; Lumsden, Alan B.; Dodson, Thomas F.; Salam, Atef A.; Smith III, Robert B.; Chaikof, Elliot L.; Weiss, Victor L.
January 2002
American Surgeon;Jan2002, Vol. 68 Issue 1, p57
Academic Journal
The last decade has represented a time of fundamental change in the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). Potentially, vascular surgeons will either acquire catheter-based skills or relinquish the care for many patients with infrarenal AAA. We investigated AAA referral patterns and method of AAA repair after the establishment of an endovascular AAA program at our institution. We conducted a retrospective review of elective AAA repairs after the initiation of an endovascular AAA program in April 1994. Six vascular surgeons performed all procedures with a clear distinction between the surgeons (n=3) who performed traditional AAA repair only and those (n=3) who managed AAAs by means of either endovascular or traditional treatment. From April 1994 through December 2000, 740 elective AAA repairs were performed. During this time the mean number of AAA repairs has been 106/year ranging from 75 to 155/year. More notable however is the steady increase in the percentage of endovascular AAA repairs from 6 per cent of all AAA repairs in 1994 to 61 per cent in 2000. During this time traditional surgeons have experienced a plateau in total AAA repairs performed per year with their number of open repairs decreasing by 36 per cent. At the same time endovascular surgeons have seen a progressive rise in total AAA cases including an increase of 200 per cent in open repairs and of 1367 per cent in endovascular repairs. Our vascular surgeons who repair AAA utilizing both endovascular and open techniques have experienced an increase in aneurysm referrals since the advent of an endovascular AAA program. Those who have not adopted endovascular skills have seen a decline in their aneurysm practice. The larger question about whether or not to embrace new technology before the availability of long-term follow-up remains unanswered.


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