Open versus Endovascular Repair of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

N Engl J Med. 2019 May 30;380(22):2126-2135. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1715955.


Background: Elective endovascular repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm results in lower perioperative mortality than traditional open repair, but after 4 years this survival advantage is not seen; in addition, results of two European trials have shown worse long-term outcomes with endovascular repair than with open repair. Long-term results of a study we conducted more than a decade ago to compare endovascular repair with open repair are unknown.

Methods: We randomly assigned patients with asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysms to either endovascular repair or open repair of the aneurysm. All the patients were candidates for either procedure. Patients were followed for up to 14 years.

Results: A total of 881 patients underwent randomization: 444 were assigned to endovascular repair and 437 to open repair. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. A total of 302 patients (68.0%) in the endovascular-repair group and 306 (70.0%) in the open-repair group died (hazard ratio, 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.82 to 1.13). During the first 4 years of follow-up, overall survival appeared to be higher with endovascular repair than with open repair; from year 4 through year 8, overall survival was higher in the open-repair group; and after 8 years, overall survival was once again higher in the endovascular-repair group (hazard ratio for death, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.18). None of these trends were significant. There were 12 aneurysm-related deaths (2.7%) in the endovascular-repair group and 16 (3.7%) in the open-repair group (between-group difference, -1.0 percentage point; 95% CI, -3.3 to 1.4); most deaths occurred during the perioperative period. Aneurysm rupture occurred in 7 patients (1.6%) in the endovascular-repair group, and rupture of a thoracic aneurysm occurred in 1 patient (0.2%) in the open-repair group (between-group difference, 1.3 percentage points; 95% CI, 0.1 to 2.6). Death from chronic obstructive lung disease was just over 50% more common with open repair (5.4% of patients in the endovascular-repair group and 8.2% in the open-repair group died from chronic obstructive lung disease; between-group difference, -2.8 percentage points; 95% CI, -6.2 to 0.5). More patients in the endovascular-repair group underwent secondary procedures.

Conclusions: Long-term overall survival was similar among patients who underwent endovascular repair and those who underwent open repair. A difference between groups was noted in the number of patients who underwent secondary therapeutic procedures. Our results were not consistent with the findings of worse performance of endovascular repair with respect to long-term survival that was seen in the two European trials. (Funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs Office of Research and Development; OVER number, NCT00094575.).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aorta, Abdominal / surgery*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / mortality
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / surgery*
  • Cause of Death
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Endovascular Procedures* / methods
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data