Functional outcome after open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm

W. Kent Williamson, Alexander D. Nicoloff, Lloyd M. Taylor, Gregory L. Moneta, Gregory J. Landry, John M. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Detailed information on functional outcome after open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair is sparse. Information about functional outcome of open AAA repair is essential to allow comparison of treatment modalities. Methods: To determine the functional outcome of patients after open repair of AAA, we reviewed 154 consecutive, non-emergency open repairs of infrarenal AAAs between 1990 and 1997 and each patient's medical records. Clinical variables were recorded for each patient, as were multiple outcomes, including ambulatory status, independent living status, current medical condition, and the patient's perception of recovery and satisfaction. Eighty-seven patients or their families were available for current telephone interview to obtain information about objective functional activities, including walking and driving, and subjective functional information, including assessment of complete recovery and willingness to undergo AAA repair again. Chart data were available for all 154 patients. Results: There were 42 women and 112 men. A total of 139 operations were elective, and 15 were urgent. The operative mortality rate was 4%, mean hospital stay was 10.7 ± 1.3 days, and mean intensive care unit stay was 4.57 ± 1.17 days. Seventeen (11%) patients required transfer to a skilled nursing facility with a mean stay of 3.66 ± 2.9 months. All patients were ambulatory preoperatively, whereas at last follow-up (median, 25 months; range, 0.13-108.5 months), 100 (64%) of the patients remained ambulatory, 34 (22%) required assistance, and 12 (14%) were nonambulatory. At current assessment by telephone interview, 33% of patients described a decrease in their functional activity including driving, shopping, and traveling compared with their preoperative status, whereas 67% were unchanged. When asked to assess their own degree of recovery, 64% of patients stated that they experienced complete recovery with an average time to recovery of 3.9 months, whereas 33% said they had not fully recovered at a mean follow-up of 34 months. Sixteen (18%) patients said they would not undergo AAA repair again knowing the recovery process, even though they appeared to fully understand the implication of AAA rupture. Conclusion: Patients undergoing open AAA repair generally experienced significant freedom from surgical complications. However, substantial functional impairment was present. It is unclear whether the functional disability resulted from the AAA surgery or from aging and comorbidities unrelated to surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-920
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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