Publications by authors named "Rabih Chaer"

195 Publications

Outcomes of the First Virtual General Surgery Certifying Exam of the American Board of Surgery.

Ann Surg 2021 Jun 24. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

From the Research Committee of the American Board of Surgery.

Summary Of Background Data: The American Board of Surgery (ABS) General Surgery Certifying Exam (CE) is normally an in-person oral examination. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the ABS was required to reschedule these. After two small pilots, the CE's October administration represented the first large scale remote virtual exam. The purpose of this report is to compare the outcomes of this virtual and the previous in-person CEs.

Methods: CE candidates were asked to provide feedback on their experience via a survey. The passing rate was compared to the 1025 candidates who took the 2019-2020 in-person CEs.

Results: Of the 308 candidates who registered for the virtual CE, 306 completed the exam (99.4%) and 188 completed the survey (61.4%). The majority had a very positive experience. They rated the virtual CE as very good/excellent in security (90%), ease of exam platform (77%), audio quality (71%), video quality (69%), and overall satisfaction (86%). Notably, when asked their preference, 78% preferred the virtual exam. There were no differences in the passing rates between the virtual or in-person exams.

Conclusions: The first virtual CE by the ABS was completed using available internet technology. There was high satisfaction, with the majority preferring the virtual platform. Compared to past in-person CEs, there was no difference in outcomes as measured by passing rates. These data suggest that expansion of the virtual CE may be desirable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SLA.0000000000004988DOI Listing
June 2021

Randomized Trial Comparing Standard Versus Ultrasound-Assisted Thrombolysis for Submassive Pulmonary Embolism: The SUNSET sPE Trial.

JACC Cardiovasc Interv 2021 Jun;14(12):1364-1373

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objectives: The aim of this trial was to determine whether ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis (USAT) is superior to standard catheter-directed thrombolysis (SCDT) in pulmonary arterial thrombus reduction for patients with submassive pulmonary embolism (sPE).

Background: Catheter-directed therapy has been increasingly used in sPE and massive pulmonary embolism as a decompensation prevention and potentially lifesaving procedure. It is unproved whether USAT is superior to SCDT using traditional multiple-side-hole catheters in the treatment of patients with pulmonary embolism.

Methods: Adults with sPE were enrolled. Participants were randomized 1:1 to USAT or SCDT. The primary outcome was 48-hour clearance of pulmonary thrombus assessed by pre- and postprocedural computed tomographic angiography using a refined Miller score. Secondary outcomes included improvement in right ventricular-to-left ventricular ratio, intensive care unit and hospital stay, bleeding, and adverse events up to 90 days.

Results: Eighty-one patients with acute sPE were randomized and were available for analysis. The mean total dose of alteplase for USAT was 19 ± 7 mg and for SCDT was 18 ± 7 mg (P = 0.53), infused over 14 ± 6 and 14 ± 5 hours, respectively (P = 0.99). In the USAT group, the mean raw pulmonary arterial thrombus score was reduced from 31 ± 4 at baseline to 22 ± 7 (P < 0.001). In the SCDT group, the score was reduced from 33 ± 4 to 23 ± 7 (P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in mean thrombus score reduction between the 2 groups (P = 0.76). The mean reduction in right ventricular/left ventricular ratio from baseline (1.54 ± 0.30 for USAT, 1.69 ± 0.44 for SCDT) to 48 hours was 0.37 ± 0.34 in the USAT group and 0.59 ± 0.42 in the SCDT group (P = 0.01). Major bleeding (1 stroke and 1 vaginal bleed requiring transfusion) occurred in 2 patients, both in the USAT group.

Conclusions: In the SUNSET sPE (Standard vs. Ultrasound-Assisted Catheter Thrombolysis for Submassive Pulmonary Embolism) trial, patients undergoing USAT had similar pulmonary arterial thrombus reduction compared with those undergoing SCDT, using comparable mean lytic doses and durations of lysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcin.2021.04.049DOI Listing
June 2021

New randomized controlled trials for abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment should focus on younger, good-risk patients.

J Vasc Surg 2021 Jun;73(6):2209

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.11.053DOI Listing
June 2021

Poor runoff and distal coverage below the knee are associated with poor long-term outcomes following endovascular popliteal aneurysm repair.

J Vasc Surg 2021 Jul 20;74(1):153-160. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Heart and Vascular Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa. Electronic address:

Objective: Reports of good short-term outcomes for endovascular repair of popliteal artery aneurysms have led to an increased use of the technique. However, data are lacking on long-term limb-related outcomes and factors associated with the failure of endovascular repair.

Methods: All patients who underwent endovascular popliteal aneurysm repair (EPAR) at a single institution from January 2006 to December 2018 were included in the study. Demographics, indications, anatomic and operative details, and outcomes were reviewed. Long-term patency, major adverse limb event-free survival (MALE-FS) and graft loss/occlusion were analyzed with multivariable cox regression analysis and Kaplan-Meier curves.

Results: We included 117 limbs from 101 patients with a mean follow-up of 55.6 months (range, 0.43-158 months). The average age was 73 ± 9.3 years. Thirty-two patients (29.1%) were symptomatic (claudication, rest pain, tissue loss, or rupture). The stent grafts crossed the knee joint in 91.4% of cases. In all, 36.8% of procedures used one stent graft, 41.0% used two stent grafts, and 22.2% of procedures used more than two stent grafts. The median arterial length covered was 100 mm, with an average length of stent overlap of 25 mm. Tapered configurations were used in 43.8% of cases. The majority of limbs (62.8%) had a three-vessel runoff, 20.2% had a two-vessel runoff, and 17% has a one-vessel runoff. The Kaplan-Meier estimates of graft occlusion at 1 and 3 years were 6.3% and 16.2%, respectively. The 1- and 3-year primary patency rates were 88.2% and 72.6%, and the 1- and 3-year major adverse limb event-free survival (MALE-FS) rates were 82% and 57.4%. The 1- and 3-year survival rates were 92.9% and 76.2%, respectively. On multivariable Cox regression, aneurysm size, one-vessel runoff, and coverage below the knee were associated with a lower 3-year MALE-FS. Coverage below the knee was also associated with a lower 3-year MALE-FS. Other anatomic or technical details were not associated with limb-related events or patency.

Conclusions: This study is the largest single center analysis to describe the predictors of poor outcomes after EPAR. EPAR is a safe and effective way to treat popliteal artery aneurysms. Factors associated with poor MALE-FS after EPAR include single-vessel tibial runoff and coverage below the knee.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.12.062DOI Listing
July 2021

Risk factors for acute kidney injury after pharmacomechanical thrombolysis for acute deep vein thrombosis.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2021 Jul 10;9(4):868-873. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Presbyterian University Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Background: Pharmacomechanical thrombolysis (PMT) is an established treatment for selected patients with acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Despite significant clinical success, hemolysis can lead to acute kidney injury (AKI) with unknown longer term implications. Our aim was to characterize the rate of AKI after PMT and identify those patients at the greatest risk.

Methods: A retrospective medical record review of patients with acute DVT who had undergone PMT in our institution from 2007 to 2018 was performed. The baseline demographics, comorbidities, preoperative clinical characteristics, procedural details, postoperative hospital course, and follow-up data were reviewed. The primary outcome was postoperative AKI (≥1.5 times preoperative creatinine), and longer term renal impairment. Logistic regression modeling was used to identify associated factors.

Results: A total of 137 patients (mean age, 47 ± 16.6 years; 49.6% male) who had undergone PMT for treatment of acute DVT were identified (85.4% AngioJet system; Boston Scientific Corp, Marlborough, Mass). Of the 137 patients, 30 (21.9%) had developed AKI in the periprocedural period, 1 of whom had required hemodialysis in the perioperative period. The patients who had developed AKI had had significantly greater rates of preoperative coronary artery disease (23.1% vs 4.7%; P = .002), diabetes mellitus (19.2% vs 6.6%; P = .045), dyslipidemia (42.3% vs 17.9%; P = .008), and hypertension (53.6% vs 29.3%; P = .018). No significant difference was found in preoperative creatinine (0.99 vs 0.92 mg/dL; P = .65) or glomerular filtration rate (GFR; 96.9 vs 91.8 mL/min; P = .52) between the two groups. Multivariate analysis demonstrated bilateral DVT (odds ratio [OR], 4.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.47-12.86; P = .008), single-session PMT (OR, 3.05; 95% CI, 1.02-9.11; P = .046), and female sex (OR, 2.85; 95% CI, 1.01-8.04; P = .048) were significant predictors of AKI. Of the 30 patients, 10 had had normal renal function at discharge and 15 and 25 patients had had normal renal function at the first and subsequent clinical follow-up visits, respectively. The remaining five patients (3.6%) had progressed to moderate (GFR, <60 mL/min) or severe (GFR, <30 mL/min) renal insufficiency, with one requiring long-term hemodialysis.

Conclusions: The use of PMT for treatment of acute DVT conferred a risk of AKI that will progress to chronic renal failure in a small fraction of affected patients. Patients with bilateral extensive DVTs have a greater risk of AKI; thus, longer priming with a thrombolytic drip before PMT should be preferred for this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2020.11.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8107181PMC
July 2021

Comparable Patency of Open and Hybrid Treatment of Venous Anastomotic Lesions in Thrombosed Haemodialysis Grafts.

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg 2020 Dec 11;60(6):897-903. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Arteriovenous graft (AVG) failures are typically associated with venous anastomotic (VA) stenosis. Current evidence regarding AVG thrombosis management compares surgical with purely endovascular techniques; few studies have investigated the "hybrid" intervention that combines surgical balloon thrombectomy and endovascular angioplasty and/or stenting to address VA obstruction. This study aimed to describe outcomes after hybrid intervention compared with open revision (patch venoplasty or jump bypass) of the VA in thrombosed AVGs.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study. Consecutive patients with a thrombosed AVG who underwent thrombectomy between January 2014 and July 2018 were divided into open and hybrid groups based on VA intervention; patients who underwent purely endovascular thrombectomy were excluded. Patient demographics, previous access history, central vein patency, AVG anatomy, type of intervention, and follow up data were recorded. Kaplan-Meier curves were used to analyse time from thrombectomy to first re-intervention (primary patency) and time to abandonment (secondary patency). Cox regression analysis was performed to evaluate predictors of failure.

Results: This study included 97 patients (54 females) with 39 forearm, 47 upper arm, and 11 lower extremity AVGs. There were 34 open revisions (25 patches, nine jump bypasses) and 63 hybrid interventions, which included balloon angioplasty ± adjunctive procedures (15 stents, five cutting balloons). Technique selection was based on physician preference. Primary patency for the open and hybrid groups was 27.8% and 34.2%, respectively, at six months and 17.5% and 12.9%, respectively, at 12 months (p = .71). Secondary patency was 45.1% and 38.5% for open and hybrid treatment, respectively, at 12 months (p = .87). An existing VA stent was predictive of graft abandonment (hazard ratio 4.4, 95% confidence interval 1.2-16.0; p = .024). Open vs. hybrid intervention was not predictive of failure or abandonment.

Conclusion: Hybrid interventions for thrombosed AVGs are not associated with worse patency at six and 12 months compared with open revision.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejvs.2020.08.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7906772PMC
December 2020

Society of Interventional Radiology Clinical Practice Guideline for Inferior Vena Cava Filters in the Treatment of Patients with Venous Thromboembolic Disease: Developed in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, American Heart Association, Society for Vascular Surgery, and Society for Vascular Medicine.

J Vasc Interv Radiol 2020 Oct 9;31(10):1529-1544. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

Southcoast Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Southcoast Physicians Group, Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Purpose: To provide evidence-based recommendations on the use of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters in the treatment of patients with or at substantial risk of venous thromboembolic disease.

Materials And Methods: A multidisciplinary expert panel developed key questions to address in the guideline, and a systematic review of the literature was conducted. Evidence was graded based on a standard methodology, which was used to inform the development of recommendations.

Results: The systematic review identified a total of 34 studies that provided the evidence base for the guideline. The expert panel agreed on 18 recommendations.

Conclusions: Although the evidence on the use of IVC filters in patients with or at risk of venous thromboembolic disease varies in strength and quality, the panel provides recommendations for the use of IVC filters in a variety of clinical scenarios. Additional research is needed to optimize care for this patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvir.2020.06.014DOI Listing
October 2020

Propofol administration during catheter-directed interventions for intermediate-risk pulmonary embolism is associated with major adverse events.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2021 05 26;9(3):621-626. Epub 2020 Aug 26.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. Electronic address:

Objective: Catheter-directed interventions (CDIs) have been increasingly used for selected patients with acute intermediate-risk (submassive) pulmonary embolism (sPE) to prevent decompensation, mortality, and potentially long-term sequelae. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the choice of anesthetic during these interventions has an effect on the postprocedural outcomes.

Methods: Patients who had undergone CDI for acute sPE from 2009 to 2019 were identified and grouped according to the intraprocedural use of propofol. The primary outcome was in-hospital intra- or postprocedural major adverse events, defined as the need for intubation, progression to massive pulmonary embolism, and in-hospital death. Major bleeding events (ie, intracerebral hemorrhage, transfusion of ≥2 U, the need for reintervention) were also assessed. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the predictors of the studied outcomes.

Results: During the study period, 340 patients (age, 58.74 ± 15.22 years; 51.2% men) had undergone CDI for sPE (85 standard thrombolysis, 229 ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis, 26 suction thrombectomy). Propofol had been used for 36 patients (10.6%); the remaining 304 patients (89.4%) had received midazolam plus fentanyl, morphine, or hydromorphone for anesthesia. The baseline characteristics of both groups were similar, except for age, hypertension, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, and procedure type, with ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis the predominant procedure for the no-propofol group (74%). Overall, 18 patients had experienced ≥1 events of the composite outcome (ie, 10 intubations, 11 decompensations, 2 surgical conversions, 3 deaths). The propofol group had a significantly greater adverse event rate (13.8%; n = 5) compared with the no-propofol group (4.2%; n = 13; P = .015). On multivariate analysis, propofol was still a predictive factor for adverse events (odds ratio, 3.79; 95% confidence interval, 1.11-12.93; P = .03). A total of 16 patients had experienced major bleeding or other procedure-related events, including stroke in 4 (1.17%), coronary sinus perforation in 1, tricuspid valve rupture in 1, and the need for transfusion in 10 patients. The type of intervention (ie, standard thrombolysis, ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis, suction thrombectomy) was not a predictive factor for any studied outcome.

Conclusions: CDIs are low-risk procedures with minimal postoperative morbidity and mortality in the setting of acute sPE. However, the use of propofol for intraprocedural sedation should be avoided because it can have detrimental effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2020.08.026DOI Listing
May 2021

Reporting standards for endovascular aortic repair of aneurysms involving the renal-mesenteric arteries.

J Vasc Surg 2021 01 29;73(1S):4S-52S. Epub 2020 Jun 29.

Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, MedStar Health, Washington, D.C.

Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair of complex aortic aneurysms requires incorporation of side branches using specially designed aortic stent grafts with fenestrations, directional branches, or parallel stent grafts. These techniques have been increasingly used and reported in the literature. The purpose of this document is to clarify and to update terminology, classification systems, measurement techniques, and end point definitions that are recommended for reports dealing with endovascular repair of complex abdominal and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms involving the renal and mesenteric arteries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.06.011DOI Listing
January 2021

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the management of visceral artery aneurysms.

J Vasc Surg 2020 07;72(1S):40S-45S

Evidence-based Practice Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Electronic address:

Background: The evidence supporting management decisions of visceral artery aneurysms (VAAs) is sparse. Practice guidelines are needed to help patients and surgeons choose between endovascular and open surgery approaches.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane databases, and Scopus for studies of patients with VAAs. Studies were selected and appraised by pairs of independent reviewers. Meta-analysis was performed when appropriate.

Results: We included 80 observational studies that were mostly noncomparative. Data were available for 2845 aneurysms, comprising 1279 renal artery, 775 splenic artery, 359 hepatic artery, 226 pancreaticoduodenal and gastroduodenal arteries, 95 superior mesenteric artery, 87 celiac artery, 15 jejunal, ileal and colic arteries, and 9 gastric and gastroepiploic arteries. Differences in mortality between open and endovascular approaches were not statistically significant. The endovascular approach was used more often by surgeons. The endovascular approach was associated with shorter hospital stay and lower rates of cardiovascular complications but higher rates of reintervention. Postembolization syndrome rates ranged from 9% (renal) to 38% (splenic). Coil migration ranged from 8% (splenic) to 29% (renal). Otherwise, access site complication were low (<5%). Pseudoaneurysms tended to have higher mortality and reintervention rates.

Conclusions: This systematic review provides event rates for outcomes important to patients with VAAs. Despite the low certainty warranted by the evidence, these rates along, with surgical expertise and anatomic feasibility, can help patients and surgeons in shared-decision making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.05.018DOI Listing
July 2020

Cost-effectiveness analysis of immediate access arteriovenous grafts versus standard grafts for hemodialysis.

J Vasc Surg 2021 Feb 27;73(2):581-587. Epub 2020 May 27.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Objective: Immediate-access arteriovenous grafts (IAAVGs), or early cannulation arteriovenous grafts (AVGs), are more expensive than standard grafts (sAVGs) but can be used immediately after placement, reducing the need for a tunneled dialysis catheter (TDC). We hypothesized that a decrease in TDC-related complications would make IAAVGs a cost-effective alternative to sAVGs.

Methods: We constructed a Markov state-transition model in which patients initially received either an IAAVG or an sAVG and a TDC until graft usability; patients were followed through multiple subsequent access procedures for a 60-month time horizon. The model simulated mortality and typical graft- and TDC-related complications, with parameter estimates including probabilities, costs, and utilities derived from previous literature. A key parameter was median time to TDC removal after graft placement, which was studied under both real-world (7 days for IAAVG and 70 days for sAVG) and ideal (no TDC placed with IAAVG and 1 month for sAVG) conditions. Costs were based on current Medicare reimbursement rates and reflect a payer perspective. Both microsimulation (10,000 trials) and probabilistic sensitivity analysis (10,000 samples) were performed. The willingness-to-pay threshold was set at $100,000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY).

Results: IAAVG placement is a dominant strategy under both real-world ($1201.16 less expensive and 0.03 QALY more effective) and ideal ($1457.97 less expensive and 0.03 QALY more effective) conditions. Under real-world parameters, the result was most sensitive to the time to TDC removal; IAAVGs are cost-effective if a TDC is maintained for ≥23 days after sAVG placement. The mean catheter time was lower with IAAVG (3.9 vs 8.7 months; P < .0001), as was the mean number of access-related infections (0.55 vs 0.74; P < .0001). Median survival in the model was 29 months. Overall mortality was similar between groups (76.3% vs 76.7% at 5 years; P = .33), but access-related mortality trended toward improvement with IAAVG (6.1% vs 6.8% at 5 years; P = .052).

Conclusions: The Markov decision analysis model supported our hypothesis that IAAVGs come with added initial cost but are ultimately cost-saving and more effective. This apparent benefit is due to our prediction that a decreased number of catheter days per patient would lead to a decreased number of access-related infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.05.038DOI Listing
February 2021

Retrograde open mesenteric stenting should be considered as the initial approach to acute mesenteric ischemia.

J Vasc Surg 2020 10 8;72(4):1260-1268. Epub 2020 Apr 8.

Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. Electronic address:

Objective: Retrograde open mesenteric stenting (ROMS) is an alternative to traditional bypass in patients who present with acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI). However, there is a paucity of data comparing outcomes of ROMS with other open surgical approaches. This study represents the largest single-institution experience with ROMS and aims to compare outcomes of ROMS with those of conventional mesenteric bypass.

Methods: All patients who presented with AMI from 2008 to 2019 and who were treated with either ROMS or mesenteric bypass were included in the study. Patient, procedure, and outcome variables were compared. Bypass and ROMS patients were compared using univariate statistics.

Results: A total of 34 patients who presented with AMI needing bypass were included in the study; 16 underwent mesenteric bypass, and 18 underwent ROMS. ROMS patients tended to be older than bypass patients and had higher rates of comorbidities. Bypass patients were more likely to have a history of chronic mesenteric symptoms (68.8% vs 27.8%; P = .019). Bypass procedures also took longer than ROMS procedures (302 vs 189 minutes; P < .01). The majority of ROMS procedures were not performed in a hybrid room (77.8%). Within 1 year, one stent thrombosed in a ROMS patient, requiring later mesenteric bypass. In the bypass group, one conduit thrombosed, ultimately resulting in perioperative death, and one bypass anastomosis stenosed, requiring angioplasty. Complication, unanticipated reintervention, and mortality rates were otherwise similar between groups.

Conclusions: Complication, reintervention, and mortality rates after ROMS are similar to those of mesenteric bypass in the setting of AMI. Given similar postoperative outcomes and ability to perform these procedures in a conventional operating room but with significantly shorter operative times, ROMS should be considered a first-line option in acute situations when the operator is comfortable performing the procedure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.02.044DOI Listing
October 2020

The Society for Vascular Surgery clinical practice guidelines on the management of visceral aneurysms.

J Vasc Surg 2020 07 20;72(1S):3S-39S. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Mayo Clinic Evidence-Based Practice Center, Rochester, Minn.

These Society for Vascular Surgery Clinical Practice Guidelines describe the care of patients with aneurysms of the visceral arteries. They include evidence-based size thresholds for repair of aneurysms of the renal arteries, splenic artery, celiac artery, and hepatic artery, among others. Specific open surgical and endovascular repair strategies are also discussed. They also describe specific circumstances in which aneurysms may be repaired at smaller sizes than these size thresholds, including in women of childbearing age and false aneurysms. These Guidelines offer important recommendations for the care of patients with aneurysms of the visceral arteries and long-awaited guidance for clinicians who treat these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.01.039DOI Listing
July 2020

Acute superior mesenteric venous thrombosis results in high rates of readmission and morbidity.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2020 09 3;8(5):748-755. Epub 2020 Mar 3.

Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. Electronic address:

Objective: Superior mesenteric venous thrombosis (MVT) is a poorly understood clinical entity, and as such, outcomes are poorly described. This study aimed to identify predictors of bowel ischemia after MVT and to compare outcomes for patients treated medically (group 1) with those for patients treated with bowel resection (group 2).

Methods: This was a retrospective, single-institution study capturing all patients diagnosed with symptomatic acute MVT on computed tomography imaging from 2008 to 2018. Demographics, comorbidities, imaging, laboratory values, and treatment were included. Predictors of bowel resection were analyzed by univariate and multivariate statistics. Outcomes including mortality, readmissions for abdominal pain, and chronic mesenteric venous congestion were compared using χ test.

Results: There were 121 patients included in the study; 98 patients were treated medically (group 1), 19 patients were treated with bowel resection (group 2), and 4 patients were treated with endovascular recanalization (group 3). Group 1 and group 2 were compared directly. Patients requiring bowel resection tended to have higher body mass index (P = .051) and a hypercoagulable disorder (P = .003). Patients who required bowel resection were more likely to present with lactic acidosis (P < .001) and leukocytosis (P < .001) with bowel wall thickening on scan (P < .001). On multivariable analysis, a genetic thrombophilia was a strong predictor of bowel ischemia (odds ratio, 3.81; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-12.37). One-year mortality and readmission rates did not differ between groups. However, readmission rates for abdominal pain were high for both groups (group 1, 44.90%; group 2, 57.89%; P = .317), and a significant proportion of patients exhibited chronic mesenteric venous congestion on repeated scan (group 1, 42.86%; group 2, 47.37%; P = .104).

Conclusions: A genetic hypercoagulable disorder is a predictor of bowel ischemia due to MVT. Regardless of treatment, outcomes after MVT are morbid, with high rates of readmission for abdominal pain. An alternative approach to treat these patients is needed, given the poor outcomes with current strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2020.01.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7434641PMC
September 2020

Catheter interventions: an unresolved clinical controversy.

Lancet Haematol 2020 03;7(3):e189

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30002-8DOI Listing
March 2020

Catheter directed interventions for pulmonary embolism: current status and future prospects.

Expert Rev Med Devices 2020 Feb 30;17(2):103-110. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

: Catheter directed interventions (CDIs) have evolved over the past decade in an attempt to reduce the complications of systemic thrombolysis, while providing equivalent therapeutic benefits.: CDIs include a wide array of catheters that incorporate ultrasound technology, the infusion of thrombolytics through multi-side hole catheters and suction thrombectomy systems. We present a contemporary review summarizing the different catheter directed interventions currently available for acute PE, their indications, technical considerations, clinical effectiveness, complication rates and long-term outcomes.: For intermediate high-risk PE patients without a contraindication for thrombolysis, CDIs should be considered in patients at risk for clinical decompensation. For high risk PE patients with a major contraindication to thrombolytic therapy, suction thrombectomy can be considered in places with appropriate clinical and technical expertise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17434440.2020.1714432DOI Listing
February 2020

Quality of life after pharmacomechanical catheter-directed thrombolysis for proximal deep venous thrombosis.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2020 01;8(1):8-23.e18

Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo.

Background: After deep venous thrombosis (DVT), many patients have impaired quality of life (QOL). We aimed to assess whether pharmacomechanical catheter-directed thrombolysis (PCDT) improves short-term or long-term QOL in patients with proximal DVT and whether QOL is related to extent of DVT.

Methods: The Acute Venous Thrombosis: Thrombus Removal with Adjunctive Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis (ATTRACT) trial was an assessor-blinded randomized trial that compared PCDT with no PCDT in patients with DVT of the femoral, common femoral, or iliac veins. QOL was assessed at baseline and 1 month, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months using the Venous Insufficiency Epidemiological and Economic Study on Quality of Life/Symptoms (VEINES-QOL/Sym) disease-specific QOL measure and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary general QOL measures. Change in QOL scores from baseline to assessment time were compared in the PCDT and no PCDT treatment groups overall and in the iliofemoral DVT and femoral-popliteal DVT subgroups.

Results: Of 692 ATTRACT patients, 691 were analyzed (mean age, 53 years; 62% male; 57% iliofemoral DVT). VEINES-QOL change scores were greater (ie, better) in PCDT vs no PCDT from baseline to 1 month (difference, 5.7; P = .0006) and from baseline to 6 months (5.1; P = .0029) but not for other intervals. SF-36 PCS change scores were greater in PCDT vs no PCDT from baseline to 1 month (difference, 2.4; P = .01) but not for other intervals. Among iliofemoral DVT patients, VEINES-QOL change scores from baseline to all assessments were greater in the PCDT vs no PCDT group; this was statistically significant in the intention-to-treat analysis at 1 month (difference, 10.0; P < .0001) and 6 months (8.8; P < .0001) and in the per-protocol analysis at 18 months (difference, 5.8; P = .0086) and 24 months (difference, 6.6; P = .0067). SF-36 PCS change scores were greater in PCDT vs no PCDT from baseline to 1 month (difference, 3.2; P = .0010) but not for other intervals. In contrast, in femoral-popliteal DVT patients, change scores from baseline to all assessments were similar in the PCDT and no PCDT groups.

Conclusions: Among patients with proximal DVT, PCDT leads to greater improvement in disease-specific QOL than no PCDT at 1 month and 6 months but not later. In patients with iliofemoral DVT, PCDT led to greater improvement in disease-specific QOL during 24 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2019.03.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7681916PMC
January 2020

Standard vs ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis for acute pulmonary embolism: Awaiting the verdict.

Vasc Med 2019 12 18;24(6):547-548. Epub 2019 Oct 18.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1358863X19878492DOI Listing
December 2019

Single- versus multiple-stage catheter-directed thrombolysis for acute iliofemoral deep venous thrombosis does not have an impact on iliac vein stent length or patency rates.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2019 11 5;7(6):781-788. Epub 2019 Sep 5.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. Electronic address:

Background: Incomplete venous thrombolysis and residual nonstented iliac vein disease are known predictors of recurrent deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Controversy exists as to whether the number of thrombolysis sessions affects total stent treatment length or stent patency. The goal of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of patients who underwent single vs multiple catheter-directed lysis sessions with regard to stent extent and patency.

Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent thrombolysis and stenting for acute iliofemoral DVT between 2007 and 2018 were identified and divided into two groups on the basis of the number of treatments performed (one vs multiple sessions). Operative notes and venograms were reviewed to determine the number of lytic sessions performed and stent information, including size, location, total number, and length treated. End points included total stent length, 30-day and long-term patency, and post-thrombotic syndrome (Villalta score ≥5). The χ comparisons, logistic regression, and survival analysis were used to determine outcomes.

Results: There were 79 patients who underwent lysis and stenting (6 bilateral interventions; mean age, 45.9 ± 17 years; 48 female). Ten patients (12 limbs) underwent single-stage treatment with pharmacomechanical thrombolysis, and the remaining 69 (73 limbs) had two to four operating room sessions combining pharmacomechanical and catheter-directed thrombolysis. Patients who underwent a single-stage procedure were older and more likely to have a malignant disease. These patients received less tissue plasminogen activator compared with the multiple-stage group (17.2 ± 2.2 mg vs 27.6 ± 11.6 mg; P = .008). Average stent length was 8.8 ± 5.2 cm for the single-stage group vs 9.2 ± 4.6 cm for the multiple-stage group (P = .764). Patients who underwent a single-stage procedure had no difference in average length of stay from that of patients who underwent multiple sessions (8.5 days vs 5.9 days; P = .269). The overall 30-day rethrombosis rate was 7.3%. Two-year patency was 72.2% and 74.7% for the single and multiple stages, respectively (P = .909). The major predictors for loss of primary patency were previous DVT (hazard ratio [HR], 5.99; P = .020) and incomplete lysis (HR, 5.39; P = .014) but not number of procedures (HR, 0.957; P = .966). The overall post-thrombotic syndrome rate was 28.4% at 5 years and was also not associated with the number of treatment sessions.

Conclusions: Single- vs multiple-stage thrombolysis for DVT is not associated with a difference in extent of stent coverage. Patency rates remain high for iliac stenting irrespective of the number of lytic sessions, provided lysis is complete and the diseased segments are appropriately stented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2019.05.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7917433PMC
November 2019

Outcomes of left renal vein stenting in patients with nutcracker syndrome.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2019 11 27;7(6):853-859. Epub 2019 Aug 27.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Background: Nutcracker syndrome (NCS) is a rare condition that can be manifested with hematuria, flank pain, pelvic varicosities, or chronic pelvic congestion related to left renal vein (LRV) compression. Open surgery, specifically LRV transposition, has been the mainstay of treatment, but in the past few years, LRV stenting has emerged as a less invasive alternative without sufficient evidence to support it. This study aimed to assess outcomes of renal vein stenting in the treatment of NCS.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients with NCS who underwent LRV stenting between 2010 and 2018 was performed. End points were perioperative adverse outcomes, symptom relief, and stent patency. Symptom resolution was classified as complete, partial, and none on the basis of the interpretation of medical records on clinical follow-up. Standard descriptive statistics and survival analysis were used.

Results: Eighteen patients (17 female; mean age, 38.1 ± 16.9 years) diagnosed with NCS and treated with LRV stenting were identified. Five of these had a prior LRV transposition that had failed within a mean of 7.0 ± 4.9 months, manifested by symptom recurrence (or no improvement) along with imaging evidence of persistently severe renal vein stenosis. Twelve patients had coexisting pelvic congestion syndrome treated with gonadal vein embolization. The most frequent sign and symptom were hematuria (10/18 patients) and flank pain (15/18 patients), respectively. All patients received self-expanding stents (mean diameter, 12.8 ± 1.6 mm), the smaller ones typically placed in the previously transposed LRVs. No perioperative complications occurred. Nine patients were discharged on the same day; the remaining patients stayed longer for pain control (mean hospital stay, 1.0 ± 1.3 days). At an average follow-up of 41.4 ± 26.6 months, 13 (72.2%) patients had symptoms resolved or improved (9 complete, 4 partial). Three of the five patients whose symptoms remained unchanged had previous LRV transposition surgery, and two of these three patients eventually required renal autotransplantation. Six of 10 patients who presented with hematuria had it resolved. Three patients underwent a stent reintervention at 5.8 months, 16.8 months, and 51.7 months because of symptom recurrence or stent restenosis. The two early ones required balloon venoplasty and the third one restenting. Two-year primary and primary assisted patency was 85.2% and 100%, respectively. No stent migration occurred.

Conclusions: Endovascular treatment with renal vein stenting is safe, providing encouraging results with good midterm patency rates and symptom relief. Minimally invasive approaches may have a potential role in the treatment of NCS. Larger series and longer follow-up are needed to better assess the comparative performance against LRV transposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2019.06.016DOI Listing
November 2019

Maturation of arteriovenous fistulas in patients with ventricular assist devices.

J Vasc Access 2020 Mar 31;21(2):176-179. Epub 2019 Jul 31.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Objective: Postoperative renal dysfunction necessitating hemodialysis after implantation of ventricular assist devices presents a challenge with respect to establishment of hemodialysis access. Lack of pulsatile flow has led to concerns that arteriovenous fistulas will not mature. This study aims to evaluate arteriovenous fistula as a method of hemodialysis.

Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent implantation of a ventricular assist device between 1988 and 2016 with a subsequent need for hemodialysis were identified. Retrospective data were collected for patients requiring hemodialysis through an arteriovenous fistula or arteriovenous graft. Access flow rates and duration of patency are reported.

Results: Sixty-four patients were identified (10 required long-term hemodialysis, 5 via arteriovenous fistula, 1 via arteriovenous graft). All six patients receiving long-term hemodialysis access were on continuous-flow ventricular assist devices. Brachiocephalic arteriovenous fistulas were performed in all arteriovenous fistula patients, and the average preoperative vein diameter was 4.1 ± 0.9 mm. On 30-day follow-up, the average flow rate was 1262 ± 643 mL/min (880-2220). In arteriovenous fistula patients, one died at 30 days, one arteriovenous fistula required ligation for steal syndrome at 5 months, and one was abandoned after 10.7 months for low flow. Of remaining fistulas, one was converted to an arteriovenous graft at 1.7 years for malfunction (with 5.3 month patency), and one remains open at 4.0 years.

Conclusion: Arteriovenous fistulas should be considered in selected patients with ventricular assist devices as a means of long-term hemodialysis access to avoid use of catheters. Maturation and usage of primary arteriovenous fistulas is possible despite lack of pulsatile flow.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1129729819865706DOI Listing
March 2020

Current issues and future directions for vascular surgery training from the results of the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery annual training survey.

J Vasc Surg 2019 12 27;70(6):2014-2020. Epub 2019 May 27.

Section of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. Electronic address:

Background: Surgical training is constantly adapting to better prepare trainees for an evolving landscape of surgical practice. Training in vascular surgery additionally underwent a paradigm shift with the introduction of the integrated training pathway now more than a decade ago. With this study, we sought to characterize the needs and goals of our current vascular surgery trainee population.

Methods: The Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery Issues Committee compiled a survey to assess demographics, current needs, and goals of trainees and to evaluate trainee distress using a validated seven-item Physician Well-Being Index. The survey was distributed electronically to all current vascular surgery trainees and recent graduates in the academic years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, and responses were recorded anonymously.

Results: During the 2 years of the survey, the response rate was 30% (n = 367/1196). The respondents were 55% (n = 202) integrated vascular residents and 45% (n = 165) vascular surgery fellows. In each year of the survey, 60% (n = 102/170) and 58% (n = 86/148) of trainees expressed a desire to pursue academics in their careers, whereas 37% (n = 63/174) and 35% (n = 53/152) indicated their program had structured academic development time (2016-2017 and 2017-2018, respectively). Fifty-five percent (n = 96/174) and 52% (n = 79/152) stated that the overall impact of collaborative learners was positive. More than 60% of respondents in both years of the survey indicated experiencing one or more symptoms of distress on a weekly basis. The frequency of distress was associated with older age and with the presence of an advanced degree in both years of the survey. Sex, level of training, presence of collaborative learners, and having protected research time were not associated with frequency of distress in either year of the survey.

Conclusions: These results highlight an opportunity for programs to further evaluate the needs of their trainees for academic development during vascular surgery training to better accommodate trainees' career goals. Further investigation to identify modifiable risk factors for distress among vascular surgery trainees is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2019.02.050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6878124PMC
December 2019

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the management of visceral artery aneurysms.

J Vasc Surg 2019 11 21;70(5):1694-1699. Epub 2019 May 21.

Evidence-based Practice Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Electronic address:

Background: The evidence supporting management decisions of visceral artery aneurysms (VAAs) is sparse. Practice guidelines are needed to help patients and surgeons choose between endovascular and open surgery approaches.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane databases, and Scopus for studies of patients with VAAs. Studies were selected and appraised by pairs of independent reviewers. Meta-analysis was performed when appropriate.

Results: We included 80 observational studies that were mostly noncomparative. Data were available for 2845 aneurysms, comprising 1279 renal artery, 775 splenic artery, 359 hepatic artery, 226 pancreaticoduodenal and gastroduodenal arteries, 95 superior mesenteric artery, 87 celiac artery, 15 jejunal, ileal and colic arteries, and 9 gastric and gastroepiploic arteries. Differences in mortality between open and endovascular approaches were not statistically significant. The endovascular approach was used more often by surgeons. The endovascular approach was associated with shorter hospital stay and lower rates of cardiovascular complications but higher rates of reintervention. Postembolization syndrome rates ranged from 9% (renal) to 38% (splenic). Coil migration ranged from 8% (splenic) to 29% (renal). Otherwise, access site complication were low (<5%). Pseudoaneurysms tended to have higher mortality and reintervention rates.

Conclusions: This systematic review provides event rates for outcomes important to patients with VAAs. Despite the low certainty warranted by the evidence, these rates along, with surgical expertise and anatomic feasibility, can help patients and surgeons in shared-decision making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2019.02.024DOI Listing
November 2019

Catheter-directed thrombolysis versus suction thrombectomy in the management of acute pulmonary embolism.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2019 09 20;7(5):623-628. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Background: Catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) is increasingly performed for acute pulmonary embolism (PE) because it is presumed to provide similar therapeutic benefits to systemic thrombolysis, while decreasing the dose of thrombolytic required and the associated risks. Contemporary suction thrombectomy (ST) devices have entered the market as minimal or no-lytic alternatives, but there is no evidence on their comparative effectiveness. This study aims to compare clinical outcomes of these two interventional alternatives.

Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent a ST catheter intervention for massive or submassive PE between 2011 and 2017 were identified. For each of these patients, a nearest-neighbor matching was implemented to identify at least three CDT patients who matched as closely as possible on the following six variables: PE type, age, gender, acute deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary disease, and year of procedure. The end point was clinical success defined as meeting all the following criteria: survival to hospital discharge without major bleeding (Global Utilization of Streptokinase and t-PA for Occluded Coronary Arteries moderate or severe), perioperative stroke or other major adverse procedure-related event, and decompensation for submassive or persistent shock for massive PE.

Results: Of 277 patients who received an intervention for acute PE, 54 CDT (63.5 ± 14.2 years of age; 18 massive PE) were matched with 18 ST (64.1 ± 14.1 years of age; 6 massive PE) patients. In the CDT group, 38 (70.4%) received ultrasound-assisted thrombolysis. The ST group had significantly more patients who had a major contraindication for lytics (1 [1.9%] for CDT vs 9 [50%] for ST; P < .001). There was no difference in major bleeding (8 [14.8%] for CDT vs 3 [16.7%] for ST; P > .999; Global Utilization of Streptokinase and t-PA for Occluded Coronary Arteries severe 1 [1.8%] for CDT vs 1 [5.6%] for ST; P > .999), stroke (3.7% for CDT vs 0 for ST; P = .408), or death (3.7% for CDT vs 16.7% for ST; P = .096). One patient in the ST group suffered tricuspid valve rupture and two patients in CDT group required surgical thrombectomy. Clinical success was not statistically different between groups (75.9% for CDT vs 61.1% for ST; P = .224). The association was similar when assessing the right/left ventricular ratio improvement (0.30 ± 0.19 for CDT vs 0.17 ± 0.16 for ST; P = .097), or the subgroup of patients with submassive PE (86.1% for CDT vs 66.7% for ST; P = .135).

Conclusions: CDT seems to have similar outcomes with ST in the management of acute PE, although larger, more homogenous data are needed. In our experience, ST should be viewed as a complementary alternative for patients with contraindication for thrombolytics or severely compromised hemodynamic profile and can yield good outcomes in an otherwise highly morbid population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2018.10.025DOI Listing
September 2019

Occult type I or III endoleaks are a common cause of failure of type II endoleak treatment after endovascular aortic repair.

J Vasc Surg 2019 02 29;69(2):432-439. Epub 2018 Jun 29.

Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Objective: Most type II endoleaks have a benign natural history, but 6% to 8% are associated with sac enlargement and respond poorly to treatment. Our aim was to evaluate whether these enlargements are associated with delayed or occult type I and III endoleaks.

Methods: Patients with interventions for endoleak after endovascular aortic repair from 2000 to 2016 were reviewed retrospectively. Patient demographics, comorbidities, endoleak type, secondary procedures, aortic sac growth (≥5 mm), and mortality were collected. Successful treatment was defined as endoleak resolution with no further aortic sac growth. Secondary procedures, ruptures, endograft explant, and death were captured.

Results: There were 130 patients diagnosed with a primary type II endoleak after endovascular aortic repair at a median of 1.3 months (interquartile range, 1.0-13.3 months). One hundred eighteen had their initial treatment for a primary type II. Twelve of the 130 were initially stable and observed, but were treated for a delayed type I or III endoleak. The 130 patients underwent 279 procedures for endoleaks (mean of 2.2 ± 1.3) over 6.9 ± 3.8 years of follow-up. Of the 118 patients treated for primary type II endoleaks, 26 (22.0%) later required interventions for delayed type I and III endoleaks. The mean time to intervention for a delayed type I or III endoleak was 5.4 ± 2.8 years. Overall, there were 16 type IA, 11 type IB, 2 type III, 7 combined type IA/IB, and 2 type IA/III delayed endoleaks. The odds of harboring a delayed type I or III endoleak was 22.0% before the first attempt at type II endoleak treatment, 35.1% before the second, 44.8% before the third, and 66.6% before the fourth attempts. Rapid aortic sac growth of ≥5 mm/y before initial endoleak treatment was associated with increased risk for delayed type I or III endoleak (47.8 vs 14.1%; P = .003). Patients with delayed type I or III endoleaks had a lower successful treatment rate (8.3% vs 52.3%; P = .001) than those with only type II endoleaks. Late rupture was increased with delayed type I or III endoleak (P = .002), whereas mortality (P = .96) and aortic-related mortality (P = .46) were similar. Graft explant (P = .06) trended toward an increase with a delayed type I or III endoleak, but was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Failed attempts treating type II endoleaks and/or a rapid aortic sac growth of 5 mm/y or greater should raise the suspicion of a delayed or occult type I or III endoleak. Occult endoleaks are associated with decreased chance of endoleak resolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2018.04.054DOI Listing
February 2019

Outcomes and predictors of failure of iliac vein stenting after catheter-directed thrombolysis for acute iliofemoral thrombosis.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2019 Mar 16;7(2):153-161. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Objective: Iliac vein stenting is recommended to treat venous outflow obstruction after catheter-directed thrombolysis for acute iliofemoral deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Data on the outcome of proximal and distal stent extension are limited. Proximal stent extension to the vena cava may obstruct the contralateral iliac vein, whereas distal extension below the inguinal ligament contradicts common practice for arterial stents. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess outcomes and predictors of failure of iliac vein stents and contralateral iliac vein thrombosis, taking into consideration stent positioning.

Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent thrombolysis and stenting for DVT between May 2007 and September 2017 were identified from a prospectively maintained database. The intraoperative venograms were reviewed for proximal stent placement (covering >50% contralateral iliac vein orifice) and distal placement across the inguinal ligament. End points were ipsilateral DVT recurrence, post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS; Villalta score ≥5), and contralateral DVT. Patients with chronic contralateral DVT or contralateral iliac vein stenting at baseline were excluded from the contralateral DVT outcome evaluation. Survival analysis and Cox regression models were used to determine outcomes.

Results: Of 142 patients lysed, 73 patients (12 bilateral DVTs; mean age, 45.8 ± 17.2 years; 46 female patients) were treated with various combinations of thrombolytic techniques and at least one self-expanding iliac stent (77 stented limbs). Thirty-day recurrence developed in nine (12.3%) patients. The 3-year primary patency and secondary patency rates were 75.2% and 82.2%, respectively. The single predictor for loss of primary patency was incomplete thrombolysis (≤50%; hazard ratio [HR], 7.41; P = .002). Overall, 3 of 12 (25%) stents extending below the inguinal ligament occluded at 1 month, 2 months, and 9 months, respectively. The overall rate of PTS (Villalta score ≥5) in the stented cohort was 14.4% at 5 years. This was predicted by incomplete lysis (<50%; HR, 7.09; P = .040), stent extension below the inguinal ligament (HR, 6.68; P = .026), and male sex (HR, 6.02; P = .041). Of the 17 stents that extended into the contralateral common iliac vein and 58 stents that did not, there were 1 (5.9%) and 5 (8.6%) contralateral DVTs (P = .588) at an average follow-up of 27.4 ± 33.7 and 22.2 ± 22.3 months (P = .552), respectively.

Conclusions: Iliac stenting after thrombolysis for acute DVT guarantees high patency and low PTS rates, provided adequate thrombus resolution has been achieved before stent placement. Stent placement below the inguinal ligament does not affect the patency but may be associated with a higher PTS rate. Stenting proximal to the iliocaval confluence, although a precipitating factor, may not independently increase the likelihood of contralateral DVT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2018.08.014DOI Listing
March 2019

Increasing use of open conversion for late complications after endovascular aortic aneurysm repair.

J Vasc Surg 2019 06 21;69(6):1766-1775. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Objective: Open procedures are often required for late complications after endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR). Our aim was to describe the indications for open interventions and their postoperative outcomes and to specifically examine our experience with limited conversions in which problem endoleaks are targeted without endograft explantation.

Methods: We reviewed patients from 2002 to 2017 who underwent any surgical abdominal aortic operation after a previous EVAR. Baseline characteristics, preoperative imaging, procedural details, and postoperative outcomes were reviewed. The primary end point was 30-day mortality.

Results: There were 102 patients who underwent open conversion 3.8 ± 3.1 years after EVAR. The numbers increased significantly in recent years, with 18 cases performed in 2016; 48.5% of patients had undergone 1.9 ± 1.0 prior endovascular interventions. The indication for surgical conversion was an endoleak in 85 patients and infection in 15. One patient had a limb occlusion and another a proximal aneurysm. The 30-day mortality was 6.2% in 65 patients treated electively for endoleak but higher in 20 ruptures (40.0%) and 15 infections (40.0%). In a multivariate logistic regression model, independent predictors of 30-day mortality were rupture (odds ratio [OR], 6.70; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.75-25.60; P = .005), endograft infection (OR, 8.48; 95% CI, 1.99-36.20; P = .004), and use of a supraceliac clamp (OR, 4.80; 95% CI, 1.47-15.66; P = .009). Transient acute kidney injury (12.8%) and prolonged intubation (11.8%) were the most common postoperative complications. In 65 patients treated for endoleak without rupture, 37 underwent endograft explantation, whereas 28 had a graft-preserving intervention (branch vessel ligation for type II endoleak in 26, external banding of the aneurysm neck for type IA endoleak in 8). Mortality was 8.1% when the endograft was explanted and 3.6% when it was not (P = .63). During 3.0 ± 3.5 years of follow-up, there was one reintervention after endograft explantation (for rupture secondary to type IB endoleak) and two reinterventions after graft preservation (for a new type IA endoleak and a new type II endoleak). Survival was 87.4% at 1 year and 70.9% at 5 years.

Conclusions: Open conversion is playing an increasing role in the management of late EVAR complications. Endoleaks treated electively by open conversion are reasonably safe and show good midterm durability, even with graft-preserving interventions that avoid endograft explantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2018.09.049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6548678PMC
June 2019

Peroneal bypass versus endovascular peroneal intervention for critical limb ischemia.

J Vasc Surg 2019 01 28;69(1):148-155. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Objective: The peroneal artery is a well-established target for bypass in patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI). The objective of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of peroneal artery revascularization in terms of wound healing and limb salvage in patients with CLI.

Methods: Patients presenting between 2006 and 2013 with CLI (Rutherford 4-6) and isolated peroneal runoff were included in the study. They were divided into patients who underwent bypass to the peroneal artery and those who underwent endovascular peroneal artery intervention. Demographics, comorbidities, and follow-up data were recorded. Wounds were classified by Wound, Ischemia, foot Infection (WIfI) score. The primary outcome was wound healing; secondary outcomes included mortality, major amputation, and patency.

Results: There were 200 limbs with peroneal bypass and 138 limbs with endovascular peroneal intervention included, with mean follow-up of 24.0 ± 26.3 and 14.5 ± 19.1 months, respectively (P = .0001). The two groups were comparable in comorbidities, with the exception of the endovascular group's having more patients with cardiac and renal disease and diabetes mellitus but fewer patients with smoking history. Based on WIfI criteria, ischemia scores were worse in bypass patients, but wound and foot infection scores were worse in endovascular patients. Perioperatively, bypass patients had higher rates of myocardial infarction (4.5% vs 0%; P = .012) and incisional complications (13.0% vs 4.4%; P = .008). At 12 months, the bypass group compared with the endovascular group had better primary patency (47.9% vs 23.4%; P = .002) and primary assisted patency (63.6% vs 42.2%; P = .003) and a trend toward better secondary patency (74.2% vs 63.5%; P = .11). There were no differences in the rate of wound healing (52.6% vs 37.7% at 1 year; P = .09) or freedom from major amputation (81.5% vs 74.7% at 1 year; P = .37). In a multivariate analysis, neuropathy was associated with improved wound healing, whereas WIfI wound score, cancer, chronic renal insufficiency, and smoking were associated with decreased wound healing. Treatment modality was not a significant predictor (P = .15).

Conclusions: Endovascular peroneal artery intervention results in poorer primary and primary assisted patency rates than surgical bypass to the peroneal artery but provides similar wound healing and limb salvage rates with a lower rate of complications. In appropriately selected patients, endovascular intervention to treat the peroneal artery is a low-risk intervention that may be sufficient to heal ischemic foot wounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2018.04.049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6310052PMC
January 2019

Immediate-access grafts provide comparable patency to standard grafts, with fewer reinterventions and catheter-related complications.

J Vasc Surg 2019 03 24;69(3):883-889. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Background: No independent comparisons, with midterm follow-up, of standard arteriovenous grafts (SAVGs) and immediate-access arteriovenous grafts (IAAVGs) exist. The goal of this study was to compare "real-world" performance of SAVGs and IAAVGs.

Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent placement of a hemodialysis graft between November 2014 and April 2016 were retrospectively identified from the electronic medical record and Vascular Quality Initiative database at two tertiary centers. Only primary graft placements were included for analysis. Patients were divided into two groups based on the type of graft implanted. Patients' comorbidities, graft configuration, operative characteristics, and follow-up were collected and analyzed with respect to primary and secondary patency. Additional outcomes included graft-related complications, time to first cannulation, time to tunneled catheter removal, catheter-related complications, and overall survival. Patency was determined from the time of the index procedure; χ, Kaplan-Meier, and Cox regression analyses were used, with the P value set as significant at < .05.

Results: There were 210 grafts identified, 148 SAVGs and 62 IAAVGs. At baseline, the patients' characteristics were similar between groups, except for a greater prevalence of preoperative central venous occlusions in the IAAVG group (16.3% vs 6.8%; P < .04). Of the IAAVG group, 50 were Acuseal (W. L. Gore & Associates, Flagstaff, Ariz) and 12 were Flixene (Atrium Medical Corporation, Hudson, NH). Primary patency was similar at both 1 year (SAVG, 39.4%; IAAVG, 56.7%; P = .4) and 18 months (SAVG, 29.0%; IAAVG, 43.7%; P = .4). Secondary patency was similar at 1 year (SAVG, 50.7%; IAAVG, 52.1%; P = .73) and 18 months (SAVG, 42.3%; IAAVG, 46.3%; P = .73). Overall survival was 48% at 24 months. IAAVG patients required fewer overall additional procedures to maintain patency (mean number of procedures, 0.99 for SAVGs vs 0.61 for IAAVGs; P = .025). There was no difference in occurrence of steal syndrome (SAVG, 6.8%; IAAVG, 8.1%; P = .74) or graft infection (SAVG, 19.0%; IAAVG, 12.0%; P = .276). Seventy-five percent of all grafts were successfully cannulated, with shorter median time to first cannulation in the IAAVG group (6 days; interquartile range [IQR], 1-19 days) compared with the SAVG group (31 days; IQR, 26-47 days; P < .01). Of all pre-existing catheters, 65.75% were removed, with a shorter median time until catheter removal in the IAAVG cohort at 34 days (IQR, 22-50 days) vs 49 days (IQR, 39-67 days) in the SAVG group (P < .01). Catheter-related complications occurred less frequently in the IAAVG group (16.4% vs 2.9%; P < .045).

Conclusions: IAAVGs allow earlier cannulation and tunneled catheter removal, thereby significantly decreasing catheter-related complications. Patency and infection rates were similar between SAVGs and IAAVGs, but fewer secondary procedures were performed in IAAVGs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2018.06.204DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6394225PMC
March 2019

Persistently low inferior vena cava filter retrieval rates in a population-based cohort.

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord 2019 01 12;7(1):38-44. Epub 2018 Nov 12.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Background: Practice patterns associated with inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement have seen considerable variation in the last decade. We used a statewide administrative database to examine trends in IVC filter placement and retrieval in the general population.

Methods: We reviewed Florida state inpatient and ambulatory surgery databases from 2004 to 2014. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnosis and procedure codes and Current Procedural Terminology codes were searched for patients undergoing inpatient or outpatient IVC filter placement, and each patient was longitudinally tracked to the time of inpatient or outpatient filter retrieval. For inpatient filter placements, associated diagnoses were reviewed to identify indications for placement. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to identify factors associated with improved retrieval rates.

Results: During the 11-year period, 131,791 IVC filter placements were identified, with a 50% increase from 2004 to 2010 and a 24% decline from 2010 to 2014. Median age at filter placement was 71 years (interquartile range, 57-81 years). Mean follow-up after filter placement was 17.3 ± 25.5 months. Only 8637 filters (6.6%) were retrieved. The annual retrieval rate trended upward, from 3.4% in 2004 to 8.5% in 2013 (P < .001). Median filter dwell time was 96.5 days (interquartile range, 44-178 days). Diagnoses associated with filter placement included venous thromboembolism (75.9%), trauma (35.0%), hemorrhage (29.9%), malignant disease (29.4%), and stroke (5.1%). Retrieval rates were highest in younger patients (34.0% in patients younger than 20 years) and lowest in Medicare patients (2.5%). In a multivariate logistic regression model, Medicare was associated with decreased retrieval rates (odds ratio, 0.33; 95% confidence interval, 0.31-0.35; P < .001) after adjusting for age and associated diagnoses. Weaker risk factors included increased age, white race, and diagnoses of deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and malignant disease. A trauma diagnosis was associated with improved retrieval. To further investigate the Medicare effect, a propensity score-matched model was created to better account for confounding effects. In this model, Medicare persisted as a risk factor for decreased filter retrieval (odds ratio, 0.43; 95% confidence interval, 0.40-0.46; P < .001).

Conclusions: IVC filter placements, after a substantial increase between 2004 and 2010, have been declining since 2010. Retrieval rates in the general population are steadily improving but continue to lag behind those described in center-specific literature. Increased age and Medicare as the primary payer are the strongest risk factors for lack of filter retrieval. Widespread improvements on a national scale are needed to improve the appropriateness of filter placements and to enhance filter retrieval rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvsv.2018.08.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6296863PMC
January 2019