Aims: To summarise data from studies comparing surgical (SC) versus percutaneous closure (PC) of atrial septal defects (ASDs).
Methods and results: Electronic databases, journals and major international conference proceedings were systematically searched for pertinent clinical studies comparing the two methods of closure (percutaneous and surgical) published up to December 2008, including only those reporting on more than 20 patients. Primary endpoints: occurrence of death and of total and major early complications. Thirteen original studies (3,082 patients) were included. All studies were non-randomised. One death was reported in the surgical group (0.08%; 95% C.I. 0-0.23%). Analysis of postprocedural complications showed a 31% rate (95% CI 21-41%) in SC patients and a 6.6% rate (95% CI 3.9-9.2%) in PC subjects. The adjusted OR for SC vs. PC total complications was 5.4 (95% CI 2.96-9.84; p<0.0001), significantly in favour of PC. The postprocedural major complication rate was 6.8% (95% CI 4-9.5%) in SC patients and 1.9% (95% CI 0.9-2.9%) in PC patients. The adjusted OR for SC vs. PC major complications was 3.81 (95% CI 2.7-5.36; p=0.006), again favouring PC.
Conclusions: The largest cohort to date of patients with secundum ASD shows that treatment by a percutaneous approach has a significantly lower rate of either total or major early postprocedural complications compared to surgery.