Treatment of Popliteal Aneurysm by Open and Endovascular Surgery: A Contemporary Study of 592 Procedures in Sweden

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WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS Previous comparisons between open and endovascular repair of popliteal aneurysms have focused on asymptomatic patients, and have short follow up. This study is strengthened by the fact that it is contemporary, population based, without any selection bias, reporting on all kinds of presentations, and has approximately 90% 1 year follow up data. It shows that endovascular repair has significantly inferior results compared with open repair, in particular in the group of patients who present with acute ischaemia. We believe these results will make many vascular surgeons think twice before they treat patients endovascularly in the future. Background: Popliteal aneurysm (PA) is traditionally treated by open repair (OR). Endovascular repair (ER) has become more common. The aim was to describe time trends and compare results (OR/ER). Methods: The Swedish vascular registry, Swedvasc, has a specific PA module. Data were collected (2008-2012) and supplemented with a specific protocol (response rate 99.1%). Data were compared with previously published data (1994-2002) from the same database. Results: The number of operations for PA was 15.7/million person-years (8.3 during 1994-2001). Of 592 interventions for PA (499 patients), 174 (29.4%) were treated for acute ischaemia, 13 (2.2%) for rupture, 105 (17.7%) for other symptoms, and 300 (50.7%) were asymptomatic (31.5% were treated for acute ischaemia, 1994-2002, p = .58). There were no differences in background characteristics between OR and ER in the acute ischaennia group. The symptomatic and asymptomatic groups treated with ER were older (p = .006, p < .001). ER increased 3.6 fold (4.7% 1994-2002, 16.7% 2008-2012, p = .0001). Of those treated for acute ischaemia, a stent graft was used in 27 (16.4%). Secondary patency after ER was 70.4% at 30 days and 47.6% at 1 year, versus 93.1% and 86.8% after OR (p = .001, < .001). The amputation rate at 30 days was 14.8% after ER, 3.7% after OR (p = .022), and 17.4% and 6.8% at 1 year (p = .098). A stent graft was used in 18.3% for asymptomatic PA. Secondary patency after ER was 94.5% at 30 days and 83.7% at 1 year, compared with 98.8% and 93.5% after OR (p = .043 and 0.026). OR was performed with vein graft in 87.6% (395/451), with better primary and secondary patency at 1 year than prosthetic grafts (p = .002 and < .001), and with a posterior approach in 20.8% (121/581). Conclusions: The number of operations for PA doubled while the indications remained similar. ER patency was inferior to OR, especially after treatment for acute ischaemia, and the amputation risk tended to be higher, despite similar pre-operative characteristics. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of European Society for Vascular Surgery. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-SA license (


  • A. Cervin
  • J. Tjarnstrom
  • H. Ravn
  • Stefan Acosta
  • R. Hultgren
  • M. Welander
  • M. Bjorck
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • Surgery


  • Popliteal artery aneurysm, Open repair, Endovascular, Stent graft, Registry, Amputation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-350
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

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