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Aneurysm growth, survival, and quality of life in untreated thoracic aortic aneurysms: the effective treatments for thoracic aortic aneurysms study

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



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


© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. AIMS: To observe, describe, and evaluate management and timing of intervention for patients with untreated thoracic aortic aneurysms. METHODS AND RESULTS: Prospective study of UK National Health Service (NHS) patients aged ≥18 years, with new/existing arch or descending thoracic aortic aneurysms of ≥4 cm diameter, followed up until death, intervention, withdrawal, or July 2019. Outcomes were aneurysm growth, survival, quality of life (using the EQ-5D-5L utility index), and hospital admissions. Between 2014 and 2018, 886 patients were recruited from 30 NHS vascular/cardiothoracic units. Maximum aneurysm diameter was in the descending aorta in 725 (82%) patients, growing at 0.2 cm (0.17-0.24) per year. Aneurysms of ≥4 cm in the arch increased by 0.07 cm (0.02-0.12) per year. Baseline diameter was related to age and comorbidities, and no clinical correlates of growth were found. During follow-up, 129 patients died, 64 from aneurysm-related events. Adjusting for age, sex, and New York Heart Association dyspnoea index, risk of death increased with aneurysm size at baseline [hazard ratio (HR): 1.88 (95% confidence interval: 1.64-2.16) per cm, P < 0.001] and with growth [HR: 2.02 (1.70-2.41) per cm, P < 0.001]. Hospital admissions increased with aneurysm size [relative risk: 1.21 (1.05-1.38) per cm, P = 0.008]. Quality of life decreased annually for each 10-year increase in age [-0.013 (-0.019 to -0.007), P < 0.001] and for current smoking [-0.043 (-0.064 to -0.023), P = 0.004]. Aneurysm size was not associated with change in quality of life. CONCLUSION: International guidelines should consider increasing monitoring intervals to 12 months for small aneurysms and increasing intervention thresholds. Individualized decisions about surveillance/intervention should consider age, sex, size, growth, patient characteristics, and surgical risk.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sharples L, Sastry P, Freeman C, Bicknell C, Chiu YD, Vallabhaneni SR, Cook A, Gray J, McCarthy A, McMeekin P, Vale L, Large S

Publication type: Editorial

Publication status: Published

Journal: European heart journal

Year: 2022

Volume: 43

Issue: 25

Pages: 2356-2369

Print publication date: 01/07/2022

Online publication date: 29/11/2021

Acceptance date: 11/11/2021

ISSN (print): 0195-668X

ISSN (electronic): 1522-9645

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehab784

PubMed id: 34849716