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Ann Surg. 1988 Mar;207(3):318-22.

The improving long-term outlook for patients over 70 years of age with abdominal aortic aneurysms.

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Division of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California 92037.


During the past decade, selective criteria for elective surgery for abdominal aortic aneurysms have been refined based on natural history and aneurysm expansion information. Using these criteria, contemporary preoperative preparation and newer intraoperative technical adjuncts, 123 consecutive patients underwent elective resection with 1 death (mortality rate: 0.8%). These include all patients operated on with both elective and urgent aneurysms at this institution since 1978, with the exception of those with frank rupture. Most importantly, however, the 5-year life-table survival of all of these patients (average age: 71.3 years, range 46-96 yr) was 72%, including both hospital and late mortality rates. More than half of the patients were over 70 years old (78 cases), with no hospital deaths and a 5-year life-table survival probability of 67%. For those under 70 years of age at the time of operation, the 5-year life-table probability of survival was 79%. We believe that these accomplishments were a direct result of an aggressive policy of screening for and selectively treating coronary disease and carotid stenosis preoperatively and the utilization of such intraoperative adjuncts as routine Swan-Ganz monitoring, autologous blood transfusion, the cell saver, and the frequent use of the tube grafting (50%). Thus, with proper selection, the outlook for the patient over 70 years old with an elective abdominal aortic aneurysm resection now approaches that of the normal population (67% vs. 69%).

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