Background: Operative repair of ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (RAAA) is associated with a high mortality rate but reported figures vary widely. The aim of this study was to estimate the operative mortality of RAAA repair and determine how it has changed over time.
Methods: A meta-analysis of all English language literature quoting figures for operative mortality of RAAA repair.
Results: The pooled estimate for the overall operative mortality rate of RAAA repair from 1955 to 1998 was 48 (95 per cent confidence interval 46 to 50) per cent. Meta-regression analysis of operative mortality over time demonstrated a constant reduction of approximately 3.5 per cent per decade (1954-1997) with an operative mortality rate estimate for the year 2000 of 41 per cent. Seventy-seven studies reported intraoperative mortality but, while this appears to have remained constant over time, there was evidence of the presence of publication bias in the subgroup of papers reporting this outcome. There was no evidence of publication bias for the overall operative mortality outcome.
Conclusion: Contrary to the conclusion of recent studies, this paper demonstrates a gradual reduction with time in the operative mortality rate of RAAA repair.