Author(s): Beeman BR, Doctor LM, Doerr K, McAfeeBennett S, Dougherty MJ,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Early in our experience with endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) we performed both serial computed tomography scans and duplex ultrasound (DU) imaging in our post-EVAR surveillance regimen. Later we conducted a prospective study with DU imaging as the sole surveillance study and determined cost savings and outcome using this strategy. METHODS: From September 21, 1998, to May 30, 2008, 250 patients underwent EVAR at our hospital. Before July 1, 2004, EVAR patients underwent CT and DU imaging performed every 6 months during the first year and then annually if no problems were identified (group 1). We compared aneurysm sac size, presence of endoleak, and graft patency between the two scanning modalities. After July 1, 2004, patients underwent surveillance using DU imaging as the sole surveillance study unless a problem was detected (group 2). CT and DU imaging charges for each regimen were compared using our 2008 health system pricing and Medicare reimbursements. All DU examinations were performed in our accredited noninvasive vascular laboratory by experienced technologists. Statistical analysis was performed using Pearson correlation coefficient. RESULTS: DU and CT scans were equivalent in determining aneurysm sac diameter after EVAR (P < .001). DU and CT were each as likely to falsely suggest an endoleak when none existed and were as likely to miss an endoleak. Using DU imaging alone would have reduced cost of EVAR surveillance by 29\% ($534,356) in group 1. Cost savings of $1595 per patient per year were realized in group 2 by eliminating CT scan surveillance. None of the group 2 patients sustained an adverse event such as rupture, graft migration, or limb occlusion as a result of having DU imaging performed as the sole follow-up modality. CONCLUSION: Surveillance of EVAR patients can be performed accurately, safely, and cost-effectively with DU as the sole imaging study.
This article was published in J Vasc Surg
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals