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Systematic review of endovascular stent grafting versus open surgical repair for the elective treatment of arch/descending thoracic aortic aneurysms

Lookup NU author(s): Andrew McCarthy, Professor Luke ValeORCiD, Dr Peter McMeekin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ. Objective To review comparisons of the effectiveness of endovascular stent grafting (ESG) against open surgical repair (OSR) for treatment of chronic arch or descending thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA). Design Systematic review and meta-analysis Data sources MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, WHO International Clinical Trials Routine data collection, current controlled trials, clinical trials and the NIHR portfolio were searched from January 1994 to March 2020. Eligibility criteria for selective studies All identified studies that compared ESG and OSR, including randomised controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-randomised and non-RCTs, comparative cohort studies and case-control studies matched on main outcomes were sought. Participants had to receive elective treatments for arch/descending (TAA). Studies were excluded where other thoracic aortic conditions (eg, rupture or dissection) were reported, unless results for patients receiving elective treatment for arch/descending TAA reported separately. Data extraction and synthesis Data were extracted by one reviewer and checked by another. Risk of Bias was assessed using the ROBINS-I tool. Meta-analysis was conducted using random effects. Where meta-analysis not appropriate, results were reported narratively. Results Five comparative cohort studies met inclusion criteria, reporting 3955 ESG and 21 197 OSR patients. Meta-analysis of unadjusted short-term (30 day) all-cause mortality favoured ESG (OR 0.75; 95% CI 0.55 to 1.03)). Heterogeneity identified between larger and smaller studies. Sensitivity analysis of four studies including only descending TAA showed no statistical significance (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.18)), moderate heterogeneity. Meta-analysis of adjusted short-term all-cause mortality favoured ESG (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.51 to 0.98)), no heterogeneity. Longer-term (beyond 30 days) survival from all-cause mortality favoured OSR in larger studies and ESG in smaller studies. Freedom from reintervention in the longer-term favoured OSR. Studies reporting short-term non-fatal complications suggest fewer events following ESG. Conclusions There is limited and increasingly dated evidence on the comparison of ESG and OSR for treatment of arch/descending TAA. PROSPERO registration number CRD42017054565.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McCarthy A, Gray J, Sastry P, Sharples L, Vale L, Cook A, McMeekin P, Freeman C, Catarino P, Large S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMJ Open

Year: 2021

Volume: 11

Issue: 3

Online publication date: 04/03/2021

Acceptance date: 19/02/2021

Date deposited: 08/04/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2044-6055

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-043323


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