BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to identify the incidence of, and mortality in, patients with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) reaching hospital alive in Wales.
METHODS: Patients who presented with a ruptured AAA between September 1996 and August 1997 were analysed. Data were collected prospectively by an independent body, observing strict confidentiality.
RESULTS: Some 233 patients with a confirmed ruptured AAA were identified, giving an incidence of eight per 100 000 total population. Some 133 patients (57 per cent) underwent attempted operative repair; 85 (64 per cent) of these died within 30 days. Of the 233 patients, 92 were admitted under the care of a vascular surgeon and 141 under a non-vascular surgeon. Vascular surgeons operated on 82 patients (89 per cent), of whom 50 (61 per cent) died, whereas non-vascular surgeons operated on 51 patients (36 per cent), of whom 35 (69 per cent) died.
DISCUSSION: This study is unique as it is an independent prospective study of mortality in patients with a ruptured AAA who reached hospital alive. Mortality was independent of the operating surgeon, but vascular surgeons turned down significantly fewer patients than non-vascular surgeons (11 versus 64 per cent, P < 0.001).