Thresholds for abdominal aortic aneurysm repair in Canada and United States

Ben Li, Philippe Rizkallah, Naomi Eisenberg, Thomas L. Forbes, Graham Roche-Nagle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies have demonstrated significant geographic variations in the management of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) despite standard guidelines. Differences in patient selection, operative technique, and outcomes for AAA repair in Canada versus United States were assessed. Methods: The Vascular Quality Initiative was used to identify all patients who underwent elective endovascular or open AAA repair between 2010 and 2019 in Canada and the United States. Demographic, clinical, and procedural characteristics were recorded and differences between countries were assessed using independent t test and χ2 test. The primary outcome was the percentage of AAA repaired below recommended diameter thresholds (men, <5.5 cm; women, <5.0 cm). The secondary outcomes were in-hospital and 1-year mortality rates. Associations between region and outcomes were assessed using univariate/multivariate logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards analysis. Results: There were 51,455 U.S. patients and 1451 Canadian patients who underwent AAA repair in Vascular Quality Initiative sites during the study period. There was a higher proportion of endovascular repairs in the United States (83.7% vs 68.4%; odds ratio [OR], 2.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.13-2.63; P < .001). U.S. patients had more comorbidities, including hypertension, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and prior revascularization. The percentage of AAA repaired below recommended thresholds was significantly higher in the United States (38.8% vs 15.2%; OR, 3.57; 95% CI, 3.03-4.17; P < .001). This difference persisted after controlling for demographic, clinical, and procedural characteristics (adjusted OR, 3.57; 95% CI, 2.63-4.17; P < .001). Factors that predicted AAA repair below recommended thresholds were U.S. region (adjusted OR, 3.57; 95% CI, 3.03-4.17), male sex (adjusted OR, 2.89; 95% CI, 2.72-3.07), and endovascular repair (adjusted OR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.95-2.21). The in-hospital mortality rate was low (1.0% vs 0.8%) and the 1-year rate mortality was similar between countries (hazard ratio, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.70-1.31; P = .79). Conclusions: There are significant variations in AAA management between Canada and the United States. A greater proportion of U.S. patients underwent AAA repair below the recommended diameter thresholds. This finding is partly driven by a higher percentage of endovascular repairs. Despite these differences, the perioperative and 1-year mortality rates are similar. Future studies should investigate reasons for these variations and quality improvement projects are needed to standardize care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-905
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Canada
  • Diameter
  • Threshold
  • United States


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