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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Sep;144(3):612-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2011.10.098.

Nationwide trends and regional/hospital variations in open versus endovascular repair of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms.

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Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.



Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) has been gaining popularity for the treatment of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA). We used a nonvoluntary database to examine national trends and regional/hospital variations in the use of TEVAR and open thoracic aortic repair (OTAR) for TAAA.


From the 2005-2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample database, we identified all patients with the diagnosis of TAAA who were treated with TEVAR or OTAR. Rates of these procedures were compared between years, across geographic regions, and between hospitals of various bed sizes.


Over the study period, the rate of OTAR remained relatively stable (range, 7.5/100 patients in 2005 to 10.1/100 patients in 2008; P = .26), whereas the rate of TEVAR increased dramatically (range, 1.4/100 patients in 2005 to 6.3/100 patients in 2008; P < .0001). In 2008, 29% (211) of all TEVAR procedures and 11% (130) of all OTAR procedures were performed in western regions of the United States (P = .03). Additionally, 13% (95) of all TEVAR procedures and 3% (35) of all OTAR procedures were performed in smaller hospitals (P < .0001).


The use of TEVAR for TAAA repair increased significantly over the study period, whereas OTAR rates remained relatively stable. Our findings suggest that more patients who were otherwise not surgical candidates or did not have traditional surgical indications for OTAR were treated with TEVAR, most commonly in regions or hospitals where OTAR is less often performed. Given the complexity of TAAA cases, these results may have significant implications for patient safety in the current era of heightened health care scrutiny.

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