Trends, complications, and mortality in peripheral vascular surgery

J Vasc Surg. 2006 Feb;43(2):205-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2005.11.002.


Background: The recent evolution in treatments for peripheral vascular disease has dated available mortality statistics for vascular intervention. Moreover, many of our current mortality statistics are derived from single-institution studies that are often not reflective of outcomes in general practice. To provide current and generalizable data regarding mortality and trends for peripheral vascular interventions, we examined two national data sets (Nationwide Inpatient Sample, 1998-2003, and National Hospital Discharge Survey, 1979-2003) and four states (New York, California, Florida, and New Jersey, 1998-2003).

Methods: Four procedures--abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (nonruptured), lower extremity revascularization, amputation, and carotid revascularization--were selected by cross-referencing International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, diagnostic and procedural codes. For significance, the t test was used for continuous variables, the chi2 test was used for dichotomous variables, and the chi2 test was used for mortality trends.

Results: From 1998 to 2003, there was a progressive decrease in the national per capita rate of amputations: 13.2% overall and 21.2% for major amputations (P < .0001). Nationally and regionally, mortality has only slightly declined. For lower extremity revascularization, after a sharp increase during the 1980s to 100,000 open procedures, the volume remained constant for 10 years and began to decline in 1998, reaching 70,000 cases in 2003. In contrast, since 1996, endovascular interventions have increased 40%. Mortality during the 1998 to 2003 period remained virtually stable at 1.5% to 2% for endovascular procedures and 3% to 4% for open procedures. The overall volume of abdominal aortic aneurysm repair has not changed substantially for the past 6 years; however, endovascular repair is now used for nearly half the cases (46.5% regional and 43.0% national). Mortality for open repair has not changed, remaining at approximately 5%, whereas for endovascular repair, mortality has declined from 2.6% in 2000 to less than 1.5% in 2003. After the rapid increase in open carotid revascularization in the early 1990s, the total volume has declined 5% nationally from 1998 to 2003. Regional data demonstrated an overall 12% reduction in carotid revascularization volume since 1998; this reduction was due to a 16% decline in open carotid revascularization. During this same period, the use of angioplasty-stent carotid revascularization doubled. Mortality for the open procedures is 0.5% and is significantly higher (2%-3%) for endovascular carotid revascularization. Stroke rates for endovascular carotid revascularization are also higher: 2.13% vs 1.28% for open procedures (P < .0001).

Conclusions: Dramatic shifts in the management of peripheral vascular disease have occurred together with an overall decline in mortality. There seems to be a significant mortality advantage for endovascular as compared with traditional surgery except for carotid endarterectomy. The increasing safety of vascular interventions should be considered when deciding which patients to treat but with the caveat that endovascular interventions are not always safer than open repair.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Amputation, Surgical / mortality*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / mortality*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / surgery*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / mortality
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / surgery
  • Databases as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / blood supply*
  • Mortality / trends
  • Patient Selection
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / mortality*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / trends