Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are a vascular condition with significant risk attached, particularly if they rupture. It is, therefore, critical to identify and repair these as an elective procedure before they rupture and require emergency surgery. Repair has traditionally been an open surgical technique that required a large incision across the abdomen. Endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs (EVARs) are now a common alternative. In this procedure, the common femoral artery is exposed via a cut-down approach and a graft introduced to the aneurysm in this way. This review examines a totally percutaneous approach to EVAR. This technique gives a minimally invasive approach to femoral artery access that may reduce groin wound complication rates and improve recovery time. The technique may, however, be less applicable in people with, for example, groin scarring or arterial calcification. This is an update of the review first published in 2014.
This review aims to compare the clinical outcomes of percutaneous access with surgical cut-down femoral artery access in elective bifurcated abdominal endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR).
For this update the Cochrane Vascular Information Specialist (CIS) searched their Specialised Register (last searched October 2016) and CENTRAL (2016, Issue 9). We also searched clinical trials registries and checked the reference lists of relevant retrieved articles.
We considered only randomised controlled trials. The primary intervention was a totally percutaneous endovascular repair. We considered all device types. We compared this against surgical cut-down femoral artery access endovascular repair. We only considered studies investigating elective repairs. We excluded studies reporting emergency surgery for a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm and those reporting aorto-uni-iliac repairs.
Two review authors independently collected all data. Owing to the small number of trials identified we did not conduct any formal sensitivity analysis. Heterogeneity was not significant for any outcome.
Two studies with a total of 181 participants met the inclusion criteria, 116 undergoing the percutaneous technique and 65 treated by cut-down femoral artery access. One study had a small sample size and did not adequately report method of randomisation, allocation concealment or pre-selected outcomes. The second study was a larger study with few sources of bias and good methodology.We observed no significant difference in mortality between groups, with only one mortality occurring overall, in the totally percutaneous group (risk ratio (RR) 1.50; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06 to 36.18; 181 participants; moderate-quality evidence). Only one study reported aneurysm exclusion. In this study we observed only one failure of aneurysm exclusion in the surgical cut-down femoral artery access group (RR 0.17, 95% CI 0.01 to 4.02; 151 participants; moderate-quality evidence). No wound infections occurred in the cut-down femoral artery access group or the percutaneous group across either study (moderate-quality evidence).There was no difference in major complication rate between cut-down femoral artery access and percutaneous groups (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.20 to 1.68; 181 participants; moderate-quality evidence); or in bleeding complications and haematoma (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.31 to 2.82; 181 participants; high-quality evidence).Only one study reported long-term complication rates at six months, with no differences between the percutaneous and cut-down femoral artery access group (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.34 to 3.15; 134 participants; moderate-quality evidence).We detected differences in surgery time, with percutaneous approach being significantly faster than cut-down femoral artery access (mean difference (MD) -31.46 minutes; 95% CI -47.51 minutes to -15.42 minutes; 181 participants; moderate-quality evidence). Only one study reported duration of ITU (intensive treatment unit) and hospital stay, with no difference found between groups.
This review shows moderate-quality evidence of no difference between the percutaneous approach compared with cut-down femoral artery access group for short-term mortality, aneurysm exclusion, major complications, wound infection and long-term (six month) complications, and high-quality evidence for no difference in bleeding complications and haematoma. There was a difference in operating time, with moderate-quality evidence showing that the percutaneous approach was faster than the cut-down femoral artery access technique. We downgraded the quality of the evidence to moderate as a result of the limited number of studies, low event numbers and imprecision. As the number of included studies were limited, further research into this technique would be beneficial. The search identified one ongoing study, which may provide an improved evidence base in the future.