Conversion to open repair becomes the last option in case of endovascular repair of abdominal aneurysm failure, when radiological interventional procedures are unfeasible. While early conversion to open repair generally derives from technical errors, aetiopathogenesis and results of late conversion to open repair often remain unclear.
We report data from our Institute’s experience on late conversion to open repair. Twenty-two late conversion to open repairs out of 435 consecutive patients treated during a 18 years period, plus two endovascular repair of abdominal aneurysms performed in other centres, are analysed. The indication for conversion to open repair was aneurysm enlargement because of type I, type III, type II endoleak and endotension. Even if seven cases (23%) had shown an initial aneurysmal shrinkage, in a later phase, the sac began to enlarge again. In 12 patients, conversion to open repair was the last chance after unsuccessful secondary endovascular procedures.
Three cases (12.5%) were treated in emergency. Aortic cross-clamping was only infrarenal in 10 cases, only or temporarily suprarenal in 14 and temporarily supraceliac in 9 cases, for 19 total and 5 partial endograft excisions. Two patients died for Multiple Organ Failure (MOF), on 42nd (endovascular repair of abdominal aneurysm infection) and 66th postoperative day. No other conversion to open repair-related deaths or major complications were revealed by follow-up post-conversion to open repair (mean: 68 months ranging from 24 to 180 months).
Late conversion to open repair is often an unpredictable event. It represents a technical challenge: specifically, the most critical point is the proximal aortic clamping that often temporarily excludes the renal circulation. In our series, conversion to open repair can be performed with a low rate of complications. In response to an endovascular repair of abdominal aneurysm failure, before applying complex procedures of endovascular treatment, conversion to open repair should be taken into account.