Incision and abdominal wall hernias in patients with aneurysm or occlusive aortic disease.

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INTRODUCTION: Patients undergoing midline incision for abdominal aortic reconstruction appear to be at greater risk for postoperative incision hernia compared with patients undergoing celiotomy for general surgical procedures. Controversy exists as to whether incidence of abdominal wall hernia and increased risk for incision hernia is higher in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) than in patients operated on because of aortoiliac occlusive disease (AOD). We conducted a prospective multi-institutional study to assess frequency of incision hernia after aortic surgery through a midline laparotomy and of previous abdominal wall hernia.

METHODS: Patients with AAA (n = 177) or AOD (n = 82) from three major institutions were prospectively enrolled in the study and examined. Data collected included demographic data, cardiopulmonary risk factors, smoking status, history of previous or current abdominal wall hernia (incision, inguinal, umbilical, femoral), previous midline incision, suture type, and postoperative complications. At a minimum of 6 months after laparotomy, patients were evaluated clinically for a new incision hernia. Differences were tested with the unpaired t test, X(2) test, or Fisher exact test, and multiple logistic regression was used to control for confounding variables.

RESULTS: Mean follow-up of the cohort was 32.8 +/- 2.3 months. Rate of abdominal wall hernia and inguinal hernia in patients with AAA versus AOD was 38.4% versus 11% (P =.001) and 23.7% versus 6.1% (P =.003), respectively. Rate of postoperative incision hernia in patients with AAA was 28.2%, and in patients with AOD was 11.0% (P =.002). Adjusting for age, smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, body mass index, diabetes, bowel obstruction, and suture type, patients with AAA had almost a ninefold risk for postoperative incision hernia formation (odds ratio [OR], 8.8; P =.0049).

CONCLUSION: Compared with patients with AOD, patients with AAA have a higher frequency of abdominal wall hernia and inguinal hernia, and are at significant increased risk for development of incision hernia postoperatively. The higher frequency of hernia formation in patients with AAA suggests the presence of a structural defect within the fascia. Further studies are needed to delineate the molecular changes of the aorta and its relation to the abdominal wall fascia.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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