Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm in High-risk Patients: Outcome of Selective Management Based on Size and Expansion Rate

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Low mortality rates for the elective surgical treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms justify an aggressive approach in most patients. However, in high-risk patients with small aneurysms and no symptoms, the decision to operate remains a delicate balance of risk and benefit. Our observations include 99 high-risk patients with asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysms initially measuring 3 to 6 cm in the largest transverse diameter, who have been followed 1 to 9 years (average 2.4 years) with serial echographic measurements. Elective operations were performed for aneurysmal enlargement greater than 6 cm or symptom development. An additional 11 patients with aneurysms initially greater than 6 cm, whose initial evaluation did not result in elective surgery, were also followed. Serial data documented a mean expansion rate of 0.4 cm/year for aneurysms smaller than 6 cm. Forty-one of these 99 high-risk patients with small aneurysms eventually underwent an elective resection with two deaths (4.9%). Thirty-four patients (34%) died from causes unrelated to their unoperated aneurysms, and 21 patients (21%) are alive without symptoms. Three of the 99 patients suffered aneurysm rupture and emergency operation with two deaths. Thus, of the 99 high-risk patients with small aneurysms, four have died of elective aneurysm surgery or rupture (4%). A protocol of re-echo (or computerized tomography) examination at 3-month intervals appears to define which of these high-risk patients require elective aneurysm surgery, and has limited rupture to less than 5%. Improved criteria may emerge from recent advances in high-resolution computerized tomography.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles