Disparities in reporting and representation by sex, race, and ethnicity in endovascular aortic device trials

J Vasc Surg. 2022 Nov;76(5):1244-1252.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2022.05.003. Epub 2022 May 25.


Objective: Vulnerable populations, including women and racial and ethnic minorities, have been historically underrepresented in clinical trials. We, therefore, studied the demographics of patients enrolled in pivotal endovascular aortic device trials in the United States.

Methods: We queried the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) medical devices database for all FDA-approved endografts for the treatment of aortic aneurysms, transections, and dissections from September 1999 to November 2021. These included abdominal endovascular aortic repair (EVAR), thoracic EVAR (TEVAR), fenestrated EVAR (FEVAR) devices, and dissection stents. Multiple cases of approval for expanded indications were included separately. The primary outcomes included the proportion of trials reporting participant sex, race, and ethnicity and the proportion of enrolled participants across sex, racial, and ethnic groups.

Results: The FDA provided 29 approvals from 29 trials of 24 devices: 15 EVAR devices (52%), 12 TEVAR devices (41%), 1 FEVAR device (3.4%), and 1 dissection stent (3.4%). These trials had included 4046 patients. Of the 29 trials, all had reported on the sex of the participants, and the median female enrollment was 21% (interquartile range [IQR], 11%-34%). The EVAR trials had the lowest female enrollment (11%; IQR, 8.7%-13%) compared with 41% (IQR, 27%-45%) in the TEVAR trials, 21% in the FEVAR trial, and 34% in the dissection stent trial (P < .01 for the difference). Only 52% of the trials had reported the three most common racial groups (White, Black, Asian), and only 48% had reported Hispanic ethnicity. The TEVAR trials were the most likely to report all three racial groups and Hispanic ethnicity (92% and 75%, respectively), while the EVAR trials had the lowest reporting rates (13% and 20%, respectively). Where reported, the median enrollment of racial and ethnic groups across the trials was as follows: Black patients, 9.8% (FEVAR, 0%; EVAR, 1.9%; TEVAR, 12%; dissection stent, 25%; P = .01); Asian patients, 2.4% (EVAR, 0.6%; FEVAR, 2.4%; TEVAR, 2.5%; dissection stent, 11%; P = .24); and Hispanic patients, 3.8% (EVAR, 1.3%; FEVAR, 2.4%; TEVAR, 3.9%; dissection stent, 4.1%; P = .75).

Conclusions: Racial and ethnic minority groups were underrepresented and underreported in pivotal aortic device trials that led to FDA approval. Female patients were also underrepresented in these aortic trials, especially for EVAR. These data suggest the need for standardization of reporting practices and minimum thresholds for minority and female participation in pivotal trials to promote equitable representation.

Keywords: Disparities; EVAR; Endovascular aortic device; Ethnicity; FEVAR; Pivotal trial; Race; Sex; TEVAR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / surgery
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation* / adverse effects
  • Endovascular Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stents
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States