Conference Coverage

What repair is best for juxtarenal aneurysm?



– Outcomes with fenestrated endografts and endograft anchors to repair abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) in the region of the renal artery have improved as the techniques have gained popularity in recent years, but open repair may still achieve better overall results, vascular surgeons on opposite sides of the controversy contended during a debate at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Vascular Surgery Society.

D.G.S.V.D. Gajasinghe/Wikimedia Commons/GNU Free Documentation License

Open surgical repair of an abdominal aoritc aneurysm is shown.

Fenestrated endovascular aortic repair (FEVAR) “is as safe as open surgery to treat complex aneurysm,” said Carlos Bechara, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago. “EndoAnchors [Medtronic] do provide an excellent off-the-shelf solution to treat short, hostile necks with promising short-term results.”

Arguing for open repair was Paul DiMusto, MD, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “Open repair has an equal perioperative mortality to FEVAR,” Dr. DiMusto said, adding that the open approach also has a higher long-term branch patency rate, lower secondary-intervention rate, a lower incidence of long-term renal failure, and higher long-term survival. “So putting that all together, open repair is best,” he said.

They staked out their positions by citing a host of published trials.

“The presence of a short neck can create a challenging clinical scenario for an endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm,” Dr. Bechara said. However, he noted he was discussing complex aneurysm in which the aortic clamp is placed above the renal arteries, differentiating it from infrarenal AAA in which the clamp is below the renal arteries with no renal ischemia time. He noted a 2011 study that determined a short neck was a predictor of Type 1A endoleak after AAA repair, but that compliance with best practices at the time was poor; more than 44% of EVARs did not follow the manufacturer’s instruction (Circulation. 2011;123:2848-55).

But FEVAR was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012, with an indication for an infrarenal neck length of 4-14 mm, Dr. Bechara noted. Since then, several studies have reported excellent outcomes with the technique. An early small study of 67 patients reported a 100% technical success rate with one patient having a Type 1 endoleak at 3 years (J Vasc Surg. 2014;60:1420-8).

This year, a larger study evaluated 6,825 patients in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program who had FEVAR, open AAA repair or standard infrarenal endovascular repair during 2012-2016. “Actually, the fenestrated approach had fewer complications than open repair and the outcomes were comparable to standard EVAR,” Dr. Bechara noted. The trial reported FEVAR had lower rates of perioperative mortality (1.8% vs. 8.8%; P = .001), postoperative renal dysfunction (1.4% vs. 7.7%; P = .002), and overall complications (11% vs. 33%; P less than.001) than did open repair (J Vasc Surg. 2019;69:1670-78).

In regard to the use of endograft anchors for treatment of endoleaks, migrating grafts, and high-risk seal zones, Dr. Bechara noted they are a good “off-the-shelf” choice for complex AAA repair. He cited current results of a cohort of 70 patients with short-neck AAA (J Vasc Surg. 2019;70:732-40). “This study showed a procedural success rate at 97% and a technical success rate at 88.6%,” he said. “They had no stent migration, no increase in sac size or AAA rupture or open conversion.”

He also pointed to just-published results from a randomized trial of 881 patients with up to 14 years of follow-up that found comparable rates of death/secondary procedures, as well as durability, between patients who had endovascular and open repairs (77.7% and 75.5%, respectively, N Engl J Med. 2019;380:2126-35). Also, he noted that hospital volume is an important predictor of success with open repair, with high-volume centers reporting lower mortality (3.9%) than low-volume centers (9%; Ann Surg. 2018 Nov 29. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002873). “So not many centers are doing high-volume open aortic surgery,” he said.

To make his case that open surgery for juxtarenal AAAs is superior, Dr. DiMusto cited a number of recent studies, including a three-center trial of 200 patients who had open and FEVAR procedures (J Endovasc Ther. 2019;26:105-12). “There was no difference in perioperative mortality [2.2% for FEVAR, 1.9% in open repair], ” Dr. DiMusto said “There was a higher freedom from reintervention in the open group [96% vs. 78%], and there was higher long-term vessel patency in the open group” (97.5% having target patency for open vs. 93.3% for FEVAR).

He also pointed to a meta-analysis of 2,326 patients that found similar outcomes for mortality and postoperative renal insufficiency between FEVAR and open repair, around 4.1%, but showed significantly higher rates of renal failure in FEVAR, at 19.7% versus 7.7% (J Vasc Surg. 2015;61:242-55). This study also reported significantly more secondary interventions with FEVAR, 12.7% vs. 4.9%, Dr. DiMusto said.

Another study of 3,253 complex AAA repairs, including 887 FEVAR and 2,125 open procedures, showed that FEVAR had a technical success rate of 97%, with no appreciable difference in perioperative mortality between the two procedures (Ann Surg. 2019 Feb 1. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003094).

However, Dr. DiMusto said, adjusted 3-year mortality in this study was higher with FEVAR, and further analysis yielded outcomes that favored open repair. “After excluding perioperative deaths, differences remained, with 9% mortality for FEVAR and 5% for open repair [P = .02],” he said. “This corresponded to a 66% higher risk for overall mortality following FEVAR.”

What’s more, Dr. DiMusto said, draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the United Kingdom advise against offering complex EVAR to people with an unruptured AAA under two scenarios: if open surgery is an option; and even if they’re unable to have surgery because of anesthetic or medical issues. The final guidelines have yet to be released.

Dr. Bechara disclosed financial relationships with Gore Medical and Cook Medical and equity interest in MOKITA Medical. Dr. DiMusto has no relevant financial disclosures.

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