Sex differences in mortality and morbidity following repair of intact abdominal aortic aneurysms

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Medicare studies have shown increased perioperative mortality in women compared with men following endovascular and open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair. However, a recent regional study of high-volume centers, adjusting for anatomy but limited in sample size, did not show sex to be predictive of worse outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate sex differences after intact AAA repair in a national clinical registry.


The targeted vascular module of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program was queried to identify patients undergoing endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) or open repair for intact, infrarenal AAA from 2011 to 2014. Univariate analysis was performed using the Fisher exact test and Mann-Whitney test. Multivariable logistic regression was used to account for differences in comorbidities, aneurysm details, and operative characteristics.


We identified 6661 patients (19% women) who underwent intact AAA repair (87% EVAR; 83% women vs 88% men; P < .001). Women were older (median age, 76 vs 73 years; P < .001), had smaller aneurysms (median, 5.4 vs 5.5 cm; P < .001), and had more chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (22% vs 17%; P < .001). Among patients undergoing EVAR, women had longer operative times (median, 138 [interquartile range, 103–170] vs 131 [106–181] minutes; P < .01) and more often underwent renal (6.3% vs 4.1%; P < .01) and lower extremity (6.6% vs 3.8%; P < .01) revascularization. After open repair, women had shorter operative time (215 [177–304] vs 226 [165–264] minutes; P = .02), but women less frequently underwent lower extremity revascularization (3.1% vs 8.2%; P = .03). Thirty-day mortality was higher in women after EVAR (3.2% vs 1.2%; P < .001) and open repair (8.0% vs 4.0%; P = .04). After adjusting for repair type, age, aneurysm diameter, and comorbidities, female sex was independently associated with mortality (odds ratio [OR], 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–2.6; P = .02) and major complications (OR, 1.4; CI, 1.1–1.7; P < .01) after intact AAA repair. However, after adjusting for aortic size index rather than for aortic diameter, the association between female sex and mortality (OR, 1.5; CI, 0.98–2.4; P = .06) and major complications (OR, 1.1; CI, 0.9–1.4; P = .24) was reduced.


Women were at higher risk for 30-day death and major complications after intact AAA repair. Some of this disparity may be explained by differences in aortic size index, which should be further evaluated to determine the ideal threshold for repair.

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