The long-term success of the endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms is dependent on the secure fixation of the stent graft at the proximal and distal attachment sites. A progressive dilatation of the infrarenal neck may jeopardize this success. The data regarding this issue are scarce. However, the long-term fate of the infrarenal neck can be studied in patients who have undergone open aneurysm surgery. This was the purpose of the present investigation.Methods:
Between January 1989 and December 1993, 64 patients underwent open repair of infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms. Of the 36 patients who were eligible for the study, 19 had preoperative computed tomography scans that were available. The 19 patients also underwent a new computed tomography scanning at a mean of 71 ± 12 months after surgery.Results:
The mean preoperative aortic diameter was 25.4 ± 3.7 mm at the infrarenal neck, 24.8 ± 3.4 mm at the level of the renal arteries, and 26.7 ± 3.0 mm at the level of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA). The mean aortic diameter increased at all of the 3 levels: +2.8 ± 3.1 mm (P = .0014) at the infrarenal neck, +2.8 ± 3.0 mm (P = .0013) at the level of the renal arteries, and +1.3 ± 3.0 mm (P = .080) at the level of the SMA. The annual growth rate was 0.48 mm/y (P = .0023) at the infrarenal neck, 0.46 mm/y (P = .0010) at the level of the renal arteries, and 0.21 mm/y (P = .5811) at the level of the SMA. No correlation was found between the preoperative infrarenal neck diameter (r = .295, P = .2194), the preoperative aortic diameter at the level of the renal arteries (r = .302, P = .2088), and the preoperative aortic diameter at the level of the SMA (r = .314, P = .2043) and the corresponding growth rates. The patients were stratified into 2 groups-one with a small annual growth rate at the infrarenal neck (n = 11; ≤0.3 mm/y) and one with a larger annual growth rate (n = 8; >0.3 mm/y)-and no differences in the preoperative infrarenal neck diameter or the clinical characteristics were found between the groups.Conclusion:
This investigation shows an aortic dilatation of the infrarenal neck and of the aorta at the level of the renal arteries of approximately 0.5 mm annually after open aneurysm surgery. This dilatation raises concern regarding the long-term success after endovascular repair. The data also indicate that 2 populations might exist with regard to the annual growth rate of the infrarenal neck-one with low growth rate and one with higher growth rate. This might be of interest for the future selection of patients for endovascular repair.