Less Invasive Heart Surgery Tied To Fewer Complications

Minimally invasive heart stents for aortic aneurysms found to be safe

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Complications can occur with any surgery, and preventing them can help patients heal. A new study suggested a minimally invasive heart surgery option may cut down on these complications.

This new study compared two treatment methods for aortic aneurysms in patients across the US.

The study found that the minimally invasive option was tied to a lower rate of complications.

"Have an open discussion with your surgeon about all your surgical options."

In abdominal aortic aneurysm, a major blood vessel connecting the heart to other parts of the body becomes enlarged and may need to be reinforced. The researchers behind this new study, which was led by John Rose, MD, MPH, of the Department of Surgery at the University of California, San Diego, wanted to explore the safety of two treatment options for this condition.

Dr. Rose and team compared open aneurysm repair (OAR), a method requiring a large incision, to endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), a minimally invasive option that inserts a small heart stent, or reinforcing tube, that expands once inside the body.

The researchers looked for instances of patient safety indicators, which are regularly tracked issues that help monitor preventable complications in low-risk cases, like blood infections, wound infections, hemorrhage, accidental punctures and deaths.

To do so, the researchers used data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample to identify 70,946 cases of abdominal aortic aneurysm between 2003 and 2010. This data came from around 1,000 US hospitals each year.

A total of 43,384 EVAR procedures were identified, 1,289 (3.0 percent) of which had patient safety indicators. In comparison, 27,561 OAR procedures were identified, 3,094 (11.2 percent) of which had patient safety indicators.

Dr. Rose and team found that EVAR procedures were associated with a 42.1 percent lower risk of having a patient safety indicator when compared to OAR procedures.

When considering all procedures for abdominal aortic aneurysms, the overall rate of patient safety indicators dropped from 7.4 percent of procedures in 2003 to 4.4 percent in 2010. During this time, the rate of EVARs increased from 41.1 percent of all procedures in 2003 to 75.3 percent in 2010.

The study did not account for all other conditions or factors that may have contributed to complications. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

This study was published online July 9 in JAMA Surgery. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
July 10, 2014
Last Updated:
July 13, 2014