Background: An abnormal dilatation of the abdominal aorta is referred to as an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Due to the risk of rupture, surgical repair is offered electively to individuals with aneurysms greater than 5.5 cm in size. Traditionally, conventional open surgical repair (OSR) was considered the first choice approach. However, over the past two decades endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) has gained popularity as a treatment option. This article intends to review the role of EVAR in the management of elective AAA.
Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of EVAR versus conventional OSR in individuals with AAA considered fit for surgery, and EVAR versus best medical care in those considered unfit for surgery. This was determined by the effect on short, intermediate and long-term mortality, endograft related complications, re-intervention rates and major complications.
Search methods: The Cochrane Peripheral Vascular Diseases Group Trials Search Co-ordinator (TSC) searched the Specialised Register (January 2013) and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (2012, Issue 12). The TSC also searched trial databases for details of ongoing or unpublished studies.
Selection criteria: Prospective randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing EVAR with OSR in individuals with AAA considered fit for surgery. and comparing EVAR with best medical care in individuals considered unfit for surgery. We excluded studies with inadequate data or using an inadequate randomisation technique.
Data collection and analysis: Three reviewers independently evaluated trials for appropriateness for inclusion and extracted data using pro forma designed by the Cochrane PVD Group. We assessed the quality of trials using The Cochrane Collaboration's 'Risk of bias' tool. We entered collected data in to Review Manager (version 5.2.3) for analysis. Where direct comparisons could be made, we determined odds ratios (OR). We tested studies for heterogeneity and, when present, we used a random-effects model; otherwise we used a fixed-effect model. We tabulated data that could not be collated.
Main results: Four high-quality trials comparing EVAR with OSR (n = 2790) and one high-quality trial comparing EVAR with no intervention (n = 404) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. In individuals considered fit for surgery, a pooled analysis, including 1362 individuals randomised to EVAR and 1361 randomised to OSR, found short-term mortality (including 30-day or inhospital mortality, excluding deaths prior to intervention) with EVAR to be significantly lower than with OSR (1.4% versus 4.2%, OR 0.33, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.20 to 0.55; P < 0.0001). Using intention-to-treat analysis (ITT) there was no significant difference in mortality at intermediate follow-up (up to four years from randomisation), with 221 (15.8%) and 237 (17%) deaths in the EVAR (n = 1393) and OSR (n = 1390) groups, respectively (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.75 to 1.12; P = 0.40). There was also no significant difference in long-term mortality (beyond four years), with 464 (37.3%) deaths in the EVAR and 470 (37.8%) deaths in the OSR group (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.15; P = 0.78). Similarly, there was no significant difference in aneurysm-related mortality between groups, either at the intermediate- or long-term follow up.Studies showed that both EVAR and OSR were associated with similar incidences of cardiac deaths (OR 1.14, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.52; P = 0.36) and fatal stroke rate (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.42 to 1.55; P = 0.52). The long-term reintervention rate was significantly higher in the EVAR group than in the OSR group (OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.12 to 3.51; P = 0.02; I(2) = 85%). Results of the reintervention analysis should be interpreted with caution due to significant heterogeneity. Operative complications, health-related quality of life and sexual dysfunction were generally comparable between the EVAR and OSR groups. However, there was a slightly higher incidence of pulmonary complications in the OSR group compared with the EVAR group (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.75; P = 0.006).In individuals considered unfit for conventional OSR, the one included trial found no difference between the EVAR and no-intervention groups with regard to all-cause mortality at final follow up, with 21.0 deaths per 100 person-years in the EVAR group and 22.1 deaths per 100 person years in the no-intervention group (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) with EVAR 0.99, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.27; P = 0.97). Aneurysm-related deaths were, however, significantly higher in the no-intervention group than in the EVAR group (adjusted HR 0.53, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.89; P = 0.02). There was no difference in myocardial events (HR 1.07, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.91) between the groups in this study.
Authors' conclusions: In individuals considered fit for conventional surgery, EVAR was associated with lower short-term mortality than OSR. However, this benefit from EVAR did not persist at the intermediate- and long-term follow ups. Individuals undergoing EVAR had a higher reintervention rate than those undergoing OSR. Most of the reinterventions undertaken following EVAR, however, were catheter-based interventions associated with low mortality. Operative complications, health-related quality of life and sexual dysfunction were generally comparable between EVAR and OSR. However, there was a slightly higher incidence of pulmonary complications in the OSR group than in the EVAR group.In individuals considered unfit for open surgery, the results of a single trial found no overall short- or long-term benefits of EVAR over no intervention with regard to all-cause mortality, but individuals may differ and individual preferences should always be taken into account.