Objective: Centralization of vascular surgery services has resulted in patients being transferred longer distances for treatment of life-threatening conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether patient transfer adversely affects the survival of people with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (RAAA). Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all patients undergoing attempted repair of an RAAA at our centre, over a recent 3.5-year period (August 2000-December 2003). Patients were divided into those presenting directly to our centre and those transferred from another hospital. The main outcome variable was in-hospital or 30-day mortality, with secondary variables including time to surgical treatment, mortality in the first 24 hours and length of hospitalization. Results: Eighty-one patients (73% men) underwent attempted open repair of an RAAA at our centre during this period. Twenty-four patients (29.6%) presented directly to our hospital, while 57 (70.4%) were transferred from another institution. The overall mortality rate was 53%. Although transferred patients took twice as long as direct patients to get to the operating room (6.3 v. 3.2 h, p = 0.03), there was no difference in mortality between the 2 groups (50% v. 54%, p = ns). However, deaths of transferred patients were more likely to occur in the first 24 postoperative hours, compared with direct patients (40% v. 33%, p < 0.05). Neither mean intensive care unit stay (5.8 and 8.1 d) nor total hospitalization (20.9 and 18.8 d) differed between the 2 groups. Conclusions: Although the transfer of patients with RAAA results in a treatment delay, it does not adversely affect the already high mortality rates associated with this condition. These results may be attributed to a preselection of patients who are able to tolerate such a delay.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Surgery|
|State||Published - Feb 2007|