Endovascular versus ''Fast-Track'' Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair

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Recent studies have shown that endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) has decreased costs, as well as decreased intensive care unit and total hospital length of stays when compared to abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair using a retroperitoneal exposure. The authors hypothesized that the fast-track AAA repair, which combines a retroperitoneal exposure with a patient care pathway that includes a gastric promotility agent and patient-controlled analgesia, would have no differences when compared to EVAR. Records of 58 patients who underwent AAA repair between April 14, 2000, and July 12, 2002, were reviewed retrospectively. Demographic information, length of stay, intraoperative and postoperative complications, mortality, and costs were evaluated. Fifty-eight AAA repairs were performed with the EVAR (n=28) and fast-track (n=30) techniques. The EVAR group was slightly older (72 vs 68 years, p=0.04), had slightly smaller average aneurysm size (5.5 +/-0.13 vs 6.1 +/-0.17 cm, p=0.008), and had more patients designated American Society of Anesthesia class 4 (p<0.0001). Both groups were predominantly male. Otherwise there were no statistically significant differences in risk factors. Patients who underwent fast-track repair tended to have a longer operation (216 +/-7.4 vs 158 +/-6.8 minutes, p<0.0001), with a greater volume of blood (1.8 +/-0.29 vs 0.32 +/-0.24 units, p=0.0005), colloid (565 +/-89 vs 32 +/-22 cc, p<0.0001), and crystalloid transfusions (4,625 +/-252 vs 2,627 +/-170 cc, p<0.0001). There were no statistically significant differences in the number of intraoperative or postoperative complications between the 2 groups. EVAR patients resumed a regular diet earlier (0.21 +/-0.08 vs 1.8 +/-0.11 days, p<0.0001). Intensive care unit stay was shorter for EVAR (0.50 +/-0.10 vs 0.87 +/-0.10 days, p=0.01), but floor (2.1 +/-0.23 vs 2.6 +/-0.21 days, p=0.17), and total hospital lengths of stay (2.8 +/-0.32 vs 3.4 +/-0.18 days, p=0.07) were similar between the 2 groups. Total hospital cost was lower in the fast-track (10,205 dollars +/-736 dollars vs 20,640 dollars +/- 1,206 dollars, p<0.0001) leading to greater overall hospital earnings (6,141 dollars +/- 1,280 dollars vs 107 dollars +/- 1,940 dollars, p=0.01). Fast-track AAA repair is a viable alternative for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms. Compared to endovascular repair, the fast-track method had increased transfusions of blood and intravenous fluids and increased operating room times, but equivalent lengths of floor and total hospital stay and increased total hospital earnings.