The influence of incidental abdominal aortic aneurysm monitoring on patient outcomes

Published: July 31, 2011
Category: Bibliography > Papers
Authors: Austin PC, Forster AJ, Jennings A, Jetty P, Morant K, Van Walraven C, Wong J
Countries: Canada
Language: null
Types: Care Management
Settings: Academic, Hospital

J Vasc Surg 54:1290-1297.e2.

Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

BACKGROUND: Incidental abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are identified when the abdomen is imaged for other reasons. These are common, and many undergo incomplete radiological monitoring. The association between monitoring completeness and population-based outcomes has not been studied.

METHODS: A cohort of incidental AAAs (defined as previously unidentified aortic enlargement exceeding 3 cm found on an imaging study done for another reason) was linked to population-based data. Patients were followed to elective AAA repair, AAA rupture, death, or March 31, 2009. Monitoring completeness was gauged as the sequential number of months without a recommended abdominal scan. Its association with time to elective AAA repair and time to death was measured using a multivariable Cox regression model adjusting for other important covariates.

RESULTS: We identified 191 incidental AAAs between 1996 and 2004 (median diameter of 3.5 cm [range, 3.0-5.3 cm], median follow up of 4.4 years [range, 0.6-12.7 years]). During the study, patients spent a median of 19.4% of their time with incomplete AAA monitoring (interquartile range [IQR] 0.3%-44%); 56 patients (29.3%) had no follow-up imaging of their aneurysm. Nineteen patients (10.0%; 2.0% per year) underwent elective AAA repair, and 79 patients (37.7%; 7.6% per year) died. Independent of important covariates, people were significantly less likely to undergo elective repair (hazard ratio [HR], 0.03) and significantly more likely to die (HR, 2.99) if their AAA went without radiological monitoring for 1 year.

CONCLUSIONS: Incomplete incidental AAA radiological monitoring was significantly associated with a decreased risk of elective AAA repair and an increased risk of death. While uncontrolled confounding might explain part of these associations, clinicians should ensure that radiological monitoring of AAAs is complete in appropriate patients.

PMID: 21803526

Diagnostic Certainty,Predictive Risk Modeling,Practice Patterns Comparison,Canada,Aged,Aortic Aneurysm,Abdominal/complications,Aortic Aneurysm,Abdominal/mortality,Aortic Aneurysm,Abdominal/surgery,Aortic Rupture/etiology,Aortic Rupture/therapy,Aortography/methods,Disease Progression,Elective Surgical Procedures,Gender,Logistic Models,Magnetic Resonance Imaging,Ontario,Patient Selection,Predictive Value of Tests,Prognosis,Proportional Hazards Models,Retrospective Studies,Risk Assessment,Risk Factors,Time Factors,Tomography,X-Ray Computed,Ultrasonography,Vascular Surgical Procedures

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