Abdominal aortic aneurysms: elective endovascular repair versus conventional surgery--evaluation with evidence-based medicine techniques

Radiology. 2003 Sep;228(3):647-58. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2283012185. Epub 2003 Jul 17.


Purpose: To use evidence-based techniques to compare elective open surgical repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms with endovascular repair by means of stent placement.

Materials and methods: A focused clinical question formed the basis of a literature search. Evidence-based criteria were used to appraise and assign a "level of evidence" to retrieved articles. The following data were determined from the best studies: systemic, local, and/or vascular complications; graft failure rates; blood loss; mortality; length of intensive care and/or hospital stay; mid- and long-term outcomes; cost of endovascular repair versus that of surgery; and eligibility for endovascular repair. Absolute risk reductions and/or increases and numbers needed to treat or harm were calculated.

Results: The best current evidence came from 22 studies, which showed that there is slight, if any, difference between mortality rates of endovascular repair and surgery. Hospital and/or intensive care stay is shorter, blood loss less, and systemic complications fewer (numbers needed to treat, two to 12) with endovascular repair. Some authors reported a significant increase in local and/or vascular complications with endovascular repair (numbers needed to harm, two to six). Graft failure is significantly more common with endovascular repair (numbers needed to harm, four), and substantive adjunctive interventions are needed. Endovascular repair is more expensive than surgery.

Conclusion: Elective endovascular repair has short-term benefits compared with surgery. There is slight, if any, difference in mortality. Endovascular repair costs more than surgery. At follow-up, surgical grafts performed better.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / complications
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / mortality
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / surgery
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / therapy*
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation* / economics
  • Elective Surgical Procedures* / economics
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Graft Rejection
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Stents*
  • Treatment Outcome