Guidelines for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms. Report of a subcommittee of the Joint Council of the American Association for Vascular Surgery and Society for Vascular Surgery

J Vasc Surg. 2003 May;37(5):1106-17. doi: 10.1067/mva.2003.363.


Decision-making in regard to elective repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) requires careful assessment of factors that influence rupture risk, operative mortality, and life expectancy. Individualized consideration of these factors in each patient is essential, and the role of patient preference is of increasing importance. It is not possible or appropriate to recommend a single threshold diameter for intervention which can be generalized to all patients. Based upon the best available current evidence, 5.5 cm is the best threshold for repair in an "average" patient. However, subsets of younger, good-risk patients or aneurysms at higher rupture risk may be identified in whom repair at smaller sizes is justified. Conversely, delay in repair until larger diameter may be best for older, higher-risk patients, especially if endovascular repair is not possible. Intervention at diameter <5.5 cm appears indicated in women with AAA. If a patient has suitable anatomy, endovascular repair may be considered, and it is most advantageous for older, higher-risk patients or patients with a hostile abdomen or other technical factors that may complicate standard open repair. With endovascular repair, perioperative morbidity and recovery time are clearly reduced; however, there is a higher reintervention rate, increased surveillance burden, and a small but ongoing risk of AAA rupture. There is no justification at present for different indications for endovascular repair, such as earlier treatment of smaller AAA. Until long-term outcome of endoluminal repair is better defined and results of randomized trials available, the choice between endovascular and open repair will continue to rely heavily on patient preference.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / epidemiology
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / therapy*
  • Aortic Rupture / epidemiology
  • Aortic Rupture / therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Decision Making
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / standards*