OBJECTIVE - Although mortality after elective abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair has steadily declined, operative mortality for a ruptured AAA (rAAA) remains high. Repair of rAAA at hospitals with a higher elective aneurysm workload has been associated with lower mortality rates irrespective of the mode of treatment. This study sought to determine the association between surgeon specialization and outcomes after rAAA repair.
METHODS - The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project database from 2005 to 2010 was used to examine the 30-day mortality and morbidity outcomes of patients undergoing rAAA repair by vascular and general surgeons. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed for each death and morbidity, adjusting for all independently predictive preoperative risk factors. Survival curves were compared using the log-rank test.
RESULTS - We identified 1893 repairs of rAAAs, of which 1767 (96.1%) were performed by vascular surgeons and 72 (3.9%) were performed by general surgeons. There were no significant differences between patients operated on by general vs vascular surgeons in preoperative risk factors or method of repair. Overall 30-day mortality was 34.3% (649 of 1893). After risk adjustment, mortality was significantly lower in the vascular surgery group compared with the general surgery group (odds ratio [OR], 0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30-0.86; P = .011). The risk of returning to the operating room (OR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.35-0.97; P = .038), renal failure (OR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.31-0.95; P = .034), and a cardiac complication (OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.28-0.99; P = .047) were all significantly less in the vascular surgery group.
CONCLUSIONS - Despite similar preoperative risk factors profiles, patients who were operated on by vascular surgeons had lower mortality, less frequent returns to the operating room, and decreased incidences of postoperative renal failure and cardiac events. These data add weight to the case for further centralization of vascular services.
Copyright © 2014 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.