Contemporary incidence, outcomes, and survival associated with endovascular aortic aneurysm repair conversion to open repair among Medicare beneficiaries

J Vasc Surg. 2022 Sep;76(3):671-679.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2022.02.036. Epub 2022 Mar 26.


Objective: The widespread application of endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) has ushered in an era of requisite postoperative surveillance and the potential need for reintervention. The national prevalence and results of EVAR conversion to open repair, however, remain poorly defined. The purpose of this analysis was to define the incidence of open conversion and its associated outcomes.

Methods: The SVS Vascular Quality Initiative EVAR registry linked to Medicare claims via Vascular Implants Surveillance and Interventional Outcomes Network was queried for open conversions after initial EVAR procedures from 2003 to 2016. Cumulative conversion incidence within up to 5 years after EVAR and outcomes after open intervention were determined. Multivariable logistic regressions were used to identify independent predictors of conversion and mortality.

Results: Among 15,937 EVAR patients, 309 (1.9%) underwent an open conversion: 43% (n = 132) early (<30 days) and 57% (n = 177) late (>30 days). The longitudinally observed rate of conversion was constant over time, as well as by geographic region. Independent predictors of conversion included female sex (hazard ratio [HR], 1.49; P < .001), aneurysm diameter or more than 6.0 cm at the time of index EVAR (HR, 1.74; P < .001), nonelective repair (compared with elective presentation: HR, 1.72; P < .001), and aortouni-iliac repairs (HR, 2.19; P < .001). In contrast, adjunctive operative procedures such as endo-anchors or cuff extensions (HR, 0.62; P = .06) were protective against long-term conversion. Both early (HR, 1.6; P < .001) and late (HR, 1.26; P = .07) open conversions were associated with significant 30-day (total cohort, 15%) and 1-year mortality (total cohort, 25%). Patients undergoing open conversion experienced high rates of 30-day readmission (42%) and cardiac (45%), renal (32%), and pulmonary (30%) complications.

Conclusions: This large, registry-based analysis is among the first to document the incidence and outcomes for open conversion after EVAR in a national cohort with long-term follow-up. Importantly, women, patients with large aneurysms, and complex anatomy, as well as urgent or emergent EVARs are at an increased risk for open conversion. It seems that more conversions are performed in the early postoperative period, despite perceptions that conversion is a delayed phenomenon. In all instances, conversion is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and highlights the importance of appropriate patient selection at the time of index EVAR.

Keywords: AAA; Aortic aneurysm; Complications; Conversion to open repair; EVAR; Endovascular aneurysm repair; Open aneurysm repair; Reintervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / complications
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / surgery
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation*
  • Endovascular Procedures*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Medicare
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology