Open Repair Versus Endovascular Repair in the Treatment of Symptomatic Popliteal Artery Aneurysms


      Endovascular and open surgical modalities are currently used to treat popliteal artery aneurysms (PAA). However, there is limited data on the comparative durability of both repairs to guide physicians especially in the treatment of patients presenting symptomatic. We aimed to study the comparative effectiveness of endovascular PAA repair (EPAR) versus open PAA repair (OPAR).


      The vascular quality initiative (VQI)-Medicare linked database was queried for patients with symptomatic PAA who underwent OPAR or EPAR from January 2010 to December 2018. Kaplan-Meier estimates, log-rank tests and multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression were employed to study the outcomes of amputation free survival (AFS), freedom from first reintervention, freedom from major amputation, and overall survival in 2 years following the index procedure.


      A total of 1,375 patients were studied, of which 23.7% (n = 326) were treated with EPAR. Patients treated with OPAR were younger, less likely to have coronary artery disease (CAD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD), but more likely to be smokers and to present with acute lower extremity ischemia. OPAR treated patients had better 2-year AFS (84.5% vs. 72.5%, P < 0.001) and overall survival (86.2% vs. 74.7%, P < 0.001). Freedom from major amputation at 2 years were comparable between EPAR and OPAR (95.5% vs. 97.7%, P = 0.164) in the overall cohort. Within the sub cohort of patients with acute limb ischemia, freedom from major amputation was significantly higher for OPAR compared to EPAR (97.4% vs. 90.6%, P = 0.021). After adjustment for confounders, OPAR was associated with decreased risk of amputation or death (aHR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.48–0.80; P < 0.001) and mortality (aHR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.48–0.81; P < 0.001) at 2 years. OPAR and EPAR had comparable adjusted risk of 2-year major amputation in the overall cohort. However, for patients presenting with acute limb ischemia OPAR was associated with 72% lower risk of 2-year major amputation compared to EPAR (aHR, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.10–0.83; P = 0.021).


      In this multi-institutional observational study of symptomatic popliteal aneurysms, OPAR was associated with significantly better amputation free and overall survival compared to EPAR. For patients with acute limb ischemia, OPAR was associated with reduced risk of amputation. These findings suggest that OPAR may be superior to EPAR in the treatment of symptomatic PAA. A consideration of OPAR as first line definitive treatment for symptomatic PAA patients who are good surgical candidates is suggested.
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