Author(s): Ohki T
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the late complications after endovascular graft repair of elective abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) at the authors' institution since November 1992. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Recently, the use of endovascular grafts for the treatment of AAAs has increased dramatically. However, there is little midterm or long-term proof of their efficacy.
METHODS: During the past 9 years, 239 endovascular graft repairs were performed for nonruptured AAAs, many (86%) in high-risk patients or in those with complex anatomy. The grafts used were Montefiore (n = 97), Ancure/EVT (n = 14), Vanguard (n = 16), Talent (n = 47), Excluder (n = 20), AneuRx (n = 29), and Zenith (n = 16). All but the AneuRx and Ancure repairs were performed as part of a U.S. phase 1 or phase 2 clinical trial under a Food and Drug Administration investigational device exemption. Procedural outcomes and follow-up results were prospectively recorded.
RESULTS: The major complication and death rates within 30 days of endovascular graft repair were 17.6% and 8.5%, respectively. The technical success rate with complete AAA exclusion was 88.7%. During follow-up to 75 months (mean +/- standard deviation, 15.7 +/- 6.3 months), 53 patients (22%) died of unrelated causes. Two AAAs treated with endovascular grafts ruptured and were surgically repaired, with one death. Other late complications included type 1 endoleak (n = 7), aortoduodenal fistula (n = 2), graft thrombosis/stenosis (n = 7), limb separation or fabric tear with a subsequent type 3 endoleak (n = 1), and a persistent type 2 endoleak (n = 13). Secondary intervention or surgery was required in 23 patients (10%). These included deployment of a second graft (n = 4), open AAA repair (n = 5), coil embolization (n = 6), extraanatomic bypass (n = 4), and stent placement (n = 3).
CONCLUSION: With longer follow-up, complications occurred with increasing frequency. Although most could be managed with some form of endovascular reintervention, some complications resulted in a high death rate. Although endovascular graft repair is less invasive and sometimes effective in the long term, it is often not a definitive procedure. These findings mandate long-term surveillance and prospective studies to prove the effectiveness of endovascular graft repair.