Background: The mortality rate associated with elective aortic aneurysm repair is widely assumed to be in the region of 5 per cent. This figure does not take into consideration the effect of pre-existing risk factors. The Vascular Anaesthesia Society of Great Britain and Ireland conducted a large audit to estimate the in-hospital mortality rate associated with non-emergency infrarenal aortic surgery throughout the British Isles, and to determine the influence of risk factors on mortality rate.
Methods: This was a multicentre, prospective audit of 177 hospitals throughout the UK and Ireland. Data were collected by questionnaire to include all patients undergoing elective or urgent surgery for infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm or aortoiliac occlusive disease over 4 months.
Results: Nine hundred and thirty-three patients were recruited into the audit. The overall mortality rate was 7.3 per cent. Factors increasing the risk of death by up to fivefold included age over 74 years, urgent surgery, operation for occlusive disease, limited exercise capacity, a history of severe angina or cardiac failure, the presence of ventricular ectopics and abnormalities suggesting ischaemic heart disease on electrocardiography.
Conclusion: Although the in-hospital mortality rate was similar to previously published figures, the rate increased considerably when commonly encountered risk factors were present.