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Editor's Choice - A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Fascia Suture Technique Compared with a Suture-mediated Closure Device for Femoral Arterial Closure after Endovascular Aortic Repair

Open ArchivePublished:November 06, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejvs.2014.10.021

      Objectives

      The aim was to investigate whether the fascia suture technique (FST) can reduce access closure time and procedural costs compared with the Prostar technique (Prostar) in patients undergoing endovascular aortic repair and to evaluate the short- and mid-term outcomes of both techniques.

      Methods

      In this two center trial, 100 patients were randomized to access closure by either FST or Prostar between June 2006 and December 2009. The primary endpoint was access closure time. Secondary outcome measures included access related costs and evaluation of the short- and mid-term complications. Evaluation was performed peri- and post-operatively, at discharge, at 30 days and at 6 months follow up.

      Results

      The median access closure time was 12.4 minutes for FST and 19.9 minutes for Prostar (p < .001). Prostar required a 54% greater procedure time than FST, mean ratio 1.54 (95% CI 1.25–1.90, p < .001) according to regression analysis. Adjusted for operator experience the mean ratio was 1.30 (95% CI 1.09–1.55, p = .005) and for patient body mass index 1.59 (95% CI 1.28–1.96, p < .001). The technical failure rate for operators at proficiency level was 5% (2/40) compared with 28% (17/59) for those at the basic level (p = .003). The proficiency level group had a technical failure rate of 4% (1/26) for FST and 7% (1/14) for Prostar, p = 1.00, while corresponding rates for the basic level group were 27% (6/22) for FST and 30% (11/37) for Prostar (p = .84). There was a significant difference in cost in favor of FST, with a median difference of €800 (95% CI 710–927, p < .001).

      Conclusions

      In aortic endovascular repair FST is a faster and cheaper technique than the Prostar technique.

      Keywords

      This is the first randomized trial including two centers comparing the fascia suture technique with a suture-mediated closure device in patients having endovascular treatment of aortic aneurysms and dissections. The study brings information about access closure time and cost and also the complication rate for both techniques and independent risk factors for failure.
      Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm (EVAR) was established in the late 1990s and randomized trials have indicated a short-term benefit for EVAR compared with open repair.
      • Greenhalgh R.M.
      • Brown L.C.
      • Kwong G.P.
      • Powell J.T.
      • Thompson S.G.
      EVAR Trial Participants
      Comparison of endovascular aneurysm repair with open repair in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (EVAR trial 1), 30-day operative mortality results: randomised controlled trial.
      • Prinssen M.
      • Verhoeven E.L.
      • Buth J.
      • Cuypers P.W.
      • van Sambeek M.R.
      • Balm R.
      • et al.
      A randomized trial comparing conventional and endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
      A percutaneous access for endovascular aneurysm repair (P-EVAR) utilizing a suture mediated closure device (SMCD) was first described in 1999 by Haas et al.
      • Haas P.C.
      • Krajcer Z.
      • Diethrich E.B.
      Closure of large percutaneous access sites using the Prostar XL Percutaneous Vascular Surgery device.
      P-EVAR may reduce surgery time and decrease time to ambulation
      • Malkawi A.H.
      • Hinchliffe R.J.
      • Holt P.J.
      • Loftus I.M.
      • Thompson M.M.
      Percutaneous access for endovascular aneurysm repair: a systematic review.
      but the procedural cost may increase.
      • Lee W.A.
      • Brown M.P.
      • Nelson P.R.
      • Huber T.S.
      Total percutaneous access for endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (“Preclose” technique).
      The overall success rate for percutaneous closure is reported to be 89–95%
      • Malkawi A.H.
      • Hinchliffe R.J.
      • Holt P.J.
      • Loftus I.M.
      • Thompson M.M.
      Percutaneous access for endovascular aneurysm repair: a systematic review.
      • Lee W.A.
      • Brown M.P.
      • Nelson P.R.
      • Huber T.S.
      • Seeger J.M.
      Midterm outcomes of femoral arteries after percutaneous endovascular aortic repair using the Preclose technique.
      • Howell M.
      • Villareal R.
      • Krajcer Z.
      Percutaneous access and closure of femoral artery access sites associated with endoluminal repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
      • Borner G.
      • Ivancev K.
      • Sonesson B.
      • Lindblad B.
      • Griffin D.
      • Malina M.
      Percutaneous AAA repair: is it safe?.
      • Starnes B.W.
      • Andersen C.A.
      • Roinsvalle J.A.
      • Stockmaster N.R.
      • Mullenix P.S.
      • Statler J.D.
      Totally percutaneous aortic aneurysm repair: experience and prudence.
      • Morasch M.D.
      • Kibbe M.R.
      • Evans M.E.
      • Meadows W.S.
      • Eskandari M.K.
      • Matsumura J.S.
      • et al.
      Percutaneous repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm.
      • Teh L.G.
      • Sieunarine K.
      • van Schie G.
      • Goodman M.A.
      • Lawrence-Brown M.
      • Prendergast F.J.
      • et al.
      Use of the percutaneous vascular surgery device for closure of femoral access sites during endovascular aneurysm repair: lessons from our experience.
      with a 6 month complication rate of about 2%.
      • Lee W.A.
      • Brown M.P.
      • Nelson P.R.
      • Huber T.S.
      • Seeger J.M.
      Midterm outcomes of femoral arteries after percutaneous endovascular aortic repair using the Preclose technique.
      Obesity, femoral calcification, tortuous iliac arteries and scarred groins have been proposed as risk factors for complications.
      • Howell M.
      • Villareal R.
      • Krajcer Z.
      Percutaneous access and closure of femoral artery access sites associated with endoluminal repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
      • Teh L.G.
      • Sieunarine K.
      • van Schie G.
      • Goodman M.A.
      • Lawrence-Brown M.
      • Prendergast F.J.
      • et al.
      Use of the percutaneous vascular surgery device for closure of femoral access sites during endovascular aneurysm repair: lessons from our experience.
      • Watelet J.
      • Gallot J.C.
      • Thomas P.
      • Douvrin F.
      • Plissonnier D.
      Percutaneous repair of aortic aneurysms: a prospective study of suture-mediated closure devices.
      • Jean-Baptiste E.
      • Hassen-Khodja R.
      • Haudebourg P.
      • Bouillanne P.J.
      • Declemy S.
      • Batt M.
      Percutaneous closure devices for endovascular repair of infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms: a prospective, non-randomized comparative study.
      The fascia suture technique (FST) was described by Diethrich
      • Dietrich E.B.
      What do we need to achieve durable endoluminal abdominal aortic aneurysm repair?.
      in 1997 and was evaluated by this group in 2006.
      • Larzon T.
      • Geijer H.
      • Gruber G.
      • Popek R.
      • Norgren L.
      Fascia suturing of large access sites after endovascular treatment of aortic aneurysms and dissections.
      With this technique, access closure can be provided without exposure of the vessel. The method requires a dissection to the femoral fascia and is not percutaneous. The overall reported success rate is in the same range as for SMCD. Reported studies are, however, retrospective and mid-term results are not fully documented, or FST has been combined with external compression.
      • Larzon T.
      • Geijer H.
      • Gruber G.
      • Popek R.
      • Norgren L.
      Fascia suturing of large access sites after endovascular treatment of aortic aneurysms and dissections.
      • Harrison G.J.
      • Thavarajan D.
      • Brennan J.A.
      • Vallabhaneni S.R.
      • McWilliams R.G.
      • Fisher R.K.
      Fascial closure following percutaneous endovascular aneurysm repair.
      • Montán C.
      • Lehti L.
      • Holst J.
      • Björses K.
      • Resch T.A.
      Short- and midterm results of the fascia suture technique for closure of femoral artery access sites after endovascular aneurysm repair.
      • Mathisen S.R.
      • Zimmerman E.
      • Markström U.
      • Mattsson K.
      • Larzon T.
      Complication rate of the fascia closure technique in endovascular aneurysm repair.
      Uncertainty exists about how well FST compares with other techniques and no randomized studies have been performed previously.
      The aim of this study was to investigate whether FST reduces the time and cost of the procedure in comparison to pre-suturing using the Prostar XL percutaneous Vascular Surgical system (Abbott Laboratories, Redwood City, CA, USA) and to evaluate the short- and mid-term outcome of both techniques.

      Methods

      Study design

      From June 2006 to December 2009 a prospective, randomized, two center trial was performed in EVAR or thoracic endovascular aortic repair for aneurysm or dissection. The primary endpoint was procedure time for access closure for FST and Prostar. Secondary outcome measures included access related costs and evaluation of short- and mid-term complications of both techniques.
      Patients planned for endovascular treatment with a need of at least a 16F (outer diameter) introducer/stent graft system in the main femoral access site were included. Exclusions included the need for aorto-uni-ilac (AUI) stentgrafts with femoro-femoral or other bypass involving the main femoral access site, femoral aneurysms, ruptured aneurysms, emergency operations when pre-operative ultrasound was not performed, ongoing anticoagulation, and patients previously included in the trial or patients not considered likely to attend follow up. Availability of physicians with experience of both closure techniques, “closure license,” was mandatory.
      The Regional Ethical Review Board approved the study and patient informed consent was obtained prior to enrolment. The trial is registered ISRCTN68739781. Örebro University Hospital, Sweden, funded the trial.

      Participating centers

      Two centers (Örebro University Hospital and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg) participated in the trial. Operators were required to have experience of 15 FST and 15 Prostar procedures and to have reached the basic level in order to participate. The proficiency level for the closure techniques was set at 60 procedures.

      Randomization

      Örebro research center handled computer generated randomization, designed with equal probability (1:1 ratio) of assignment to either FST or Prostar by means of concealed allocation and stratification by center using a permuted block design. Sealed opaque envelopes imprinted with a randomization number were delivered to the hospitals. Randomization was performed in the operating room or the angiography suite when all required baseline data had been collected, femoral access had been performed, and a guidewire and an introducer (maximum 10F) had been inserted.

      Sample size

      A power calculation demonstrating 10 minutes difference in closure time (90% power, significance level 5%) between the groups required 22 patients in each group at each center, based on an estimated mean of 13 minutes (FST) and 23 minutes (Prostar) (SD 9), (Mann–Whitney U test). 90 patients were going to be enrolled, but in the end an additional 10 patients were randomized before enrolment was closed.

      Access closure

      Fascia suture

      Technical details of the FST have been described previously.
      • Larzon T.
      • Geijer H.
      • Gruber G.
      • Popek R.
      • Norgren L.
      Fascia suturing of large access sites after endovascular treatment of aortic aneurysms and dissections.
      After completion of the main part of the endovascular procedure, time from the intended start of closure of the femoral puncture, to completion of skin suture was recorded.

      Prostar

      The Prostar XL device was used in accordance with the “preclose” technique.
      • Haas P.C.
      • Krajcer Z.
      • Diethrich E.B.
      Closure of large percutaneous access sites using the Prostar XL Percutaneous Vascular Surgery device.
      A minimum of two devices were required. The time from when the first Prostar device was inserted to when the sutures of the second Prostar device were secured (step 1) was recorded. After completion of the endovascular procedure the time for step 2 between when the sutures were released and completion of skin suture was recorded.

      Procedures and follow up

      Endovascular procedure

      The centers used their standard protocols for endovascular repair. All patients received 5,000 units of heparin after a large bore introducer or a graft sheath had been inserted, and the activated clotting time (ACT) was monitored and kept at 200–250 seconds. No protamine was administered.

      Outcome

      Outcome was recorded peri-operatively, post-operatively, at discharge, at 30 days, and at 6 months follow-up. Technical success was defined as hemostasis without the need for immediate open surgical repair or external compression. Peri-operative, post-operative, and late access related (index site) complications included any event leading to an additional procedure, operative or non-operative, or the finding of a pseudoaneurysm.
      Adverse events and additional procedures related to the index site at discharge and at 1 and 6 months were recorded.

      Measurements

      A pre-operative duplex ultrasound was performed of the common femoral artery (CFA), the distal 5 cm of the external iliac artery, the proximal 5 cm of the superficial femoral artery, and the deep femoral artery. Significant stenosis (>50%, defined as doubled flow velocity) and occlusions were recorded. Thrombosis of the common femoral vein was recorded. At 6 months ultrasonography was repeated and any pseudoaneurysm was noted and its size determined.
      The ankle–brachial pressure index (ABI) was measured in both legs pre-operatively, at discharge and at 1 and 6 months.

      Cost analysis

      Closure time during the primary procedure was registered in minutes and seconds. Procedure time for reoperations related to the index site was registered in minutes, and additional procedures requiring another hospital stay were recorded as number of days. The cost for the operations was calculated according to the respective hospital's price per minute of operating time, and for hospital stay the standard price per day for patients treated outside the catchment area was used. Costs for disposables, such as the Prostar device, and sutures used for closure of the index site were included. The mean of each center's prices was used for all calculations.

      Statistics

      Mean (SD) was used for continuous variables and the median (range) was calculated for a non-normal distribution; percentages were calculated for categorical variables. Procedure time differences were handled with the Mann–Whitney U test and then with linear regression to adjust for operator experience and body mass index (BMI) as potential confounders. Because of a skewed distribution, procedure time was evaluated logarithmically, which gives mean ratios as measures of association from linear regression. A mean ratio of 1 between study groups is interpreted as no association and a mean ratio of 1.5 as a 50% longer mean procedure time in one group. Differences in categorical variables between study groups were analyzed using the chi-square test or the Fischer exact test when appropriate. To adjust for operator experience in the evaluation of complication differences between groups, logistic regression was used, giving odds ratios (ORs) as the measure of association. A Kaplan–Meier plot with log rank test was used to compare study groups for the time to the first access related complication and to reintervention. Hodges–Lehmann's method
      • Lehmann E.L.
      Nonparametric confidence intervals for a shift parameter.
      was used for cost analysis (95% CI for median differences of total cost between study groups). A p value <.05 was considered statistically significant. SPSS version 17 (Chicago, IL, USA) and STATA release 11 (College Station, TX, USA) were used for analyses.

      Results

      Study population

      Between June 2006 and May 2009, 122 patients were screened for the trial. Before randomization, 22 patients were excluded, six due to exclusion criteria, two due to co-morbidities, two rescheduled for open or hybrid repair. Four patients had died. Five patients could not be randomized because the endovascular operator had not fulfilled the minimum volume of procedures, and there were three protocol violations. One hundred patients were randomized (Örebro 54, Gothenburg 46); 99 patients were eligible for analysis. Fig. 1 shows the trial flow. The risk factors of patients were registered according to the Swedish Vascular Registry
      • Troëng T.
      • Malmstedt J.
      • Björck M.
      External validation of the Swedvasc Registry: a first-time individual cross-matching with the unique personal identity number.
      ; BMI and antiplatelet and anticoagulation treatment were noted (Table 1).
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Figure 1CONSORT diagram showing flow of patients through trial. FST = fascia suture technique.
      Table 1Demographics.
      FSTProstar
      Patients
      Patients (number of patients)4851
      Age, mean (SD)76.3 (6.7)74.6 (8.2)
      Gender, female (%)8 (17%)9 (18%)
      Anatomical location/pathology
      Abdominal aortic aneurysm42 (88%)38 (74%)
      Thoracic aortic aneurysm3 (6%)7 (14%)
      Iliac aneurysm2 (4%)6 (12%)
      Thoracic aortic dissection1 (2%)0 (0%)
      Indication
      Primary elective44 (92%)45 (88%)
      Secondary elective
      Previous endovascular treatment of aorta has been performed.
      4 (8%)5 (10%)
      Acute0 (0%)1 (2%)
      Risk factors
      Risk factors according to guidelines in the Swedish Vascular Registry.
      Cerebrovascular6 (13%)7 (14%)
      Diabetes6 (13%)8 (16%)
      Hyperlipidemia16 (33%)20 (39%)
      Hypertensive disease
      Antihypertensive medication or diastolic blood pressure >110 mmHg.
      37 (77%)38 (75%)
      Cardiac26 (54%)27 (53%)
      Previous vascular surgery or amputation7 (15%)10 (20%)
      Pulmonary8 (17%)11 (22%)
      Renal3 (6%)6 (12%)
      Smoking13 (27%)16 (31%)
      BMI
      Body mass index (BMI) with definition according to the World Health Organization.
      Normal range (18.5–24.9)13 (27%)24 (47%)
      Overweight (25.0–29.9)25 (52%)19 (37%)
      Obese class I–III (≥30.0)10 (21%)8 (16%)
      Drug therapy
      Platelet inhibition28 (58%)32 (63%)
      Anticoagulation8 (17%)7 (14%)
      Operators
      Proficiency level26 (54%)14 (27%)
      Basic level22 (46%)37 (73%)
      Data are presented as mean (SD) or number of patients and percentage.
      a Previous endovascular treatment of aorta has been performed.
      b Risk factors according to guidelines in the Swedish Vascular Registry.
      c Antihypertensive medication or diastolic blood pressure >110 mmHg.
      d Body mass index (BMI) with definition according to the World Health Organization.
      One patient randomized to the fascia suture group was converted to an AUI and femoro-femoral bypass procedure. Per-protocol analysis was therefore performed in 99 patients. The groups were well matched for baseline characteristics except for overweight and operator experience, which were more common in the FST group than in the Prostar group (Table 1).

      Procedural details

      Procedures were performed by endovascular surgeons (74%) or interventional radiologists (26%).
      Commercially available devices were used for all endovascular repairs. The total surgical time was 184 minutes (SD 66) in the FST group compared with 194 minutes (SD 86) in the Prostar group (p = .523). There was no difference between introducer/stent graft outer diameter. One fascia suture was sufficient in 71% and maximum two sutures were used in 92% of the procedures. Two Prostar devices were used in 88% of the procedures (Table 2).
      Table 2Access related (index site) procedural details.
      FSTProstar
      n = 48n = 51
      Introducer/stentgraft
      Maximum OD21.0 (1.8)21.0 (1.9)
      Fascia suture
      1 suture34 (71%)
      2 sutures10 (21%)
      3 sutures3 (6%)
      4 sutures1 (2%)
      Prostar
      2 devices45 (88%)
      3 devices5 (10%)
      4 devices1 (2%)
      Abbreviations: OD = outer diameter.
      Data are presented as mean (SD) or number of patients and percentage.

      Access closure time

      The median procedure time for closure was 12.4 minutes for FST and 19.9 minutes for Prostar, p < .001 (Fig 2). Prostar required 54% longer procedure time than FST (regression analysis, mean ratio 1.54 [95% CI 1.25–1.90, p < .001] unadjusted). When adjusted for operator experience, the mean ratio was 1.30 (95% CI 1.09–1.55, p = .005). When stratified by operator experience, the mean ratio for operators at proficiency level was 1.25 (95% CI 1.05–1.49, p = .014) and for operators at the basic level it was 1.33 (95% CI 1.01–1.75, p = .044). The operators at the basic level (n = 59) took a median of 22.2 minutes closure time and those at the proficiency level (n = 40) a median of 11.1 minutes. Adjusted for BMI (normal weight, overweight and obesity) the regression analysis showed mean ratio of 1.59 (95% CI 1.28–1.96, p < .001). Stratified on BMI, normal weight showed a mean ratio of 1.83 (95% CI 1.36–2.46, p < .001), overweight 1.41 (95% CI 0.99–2.02, p = .058) and obesity 1.61 (95% CI 0.92–2.82, p = .087). Adjusted for BMI and operator experience the mean ratio was 1.31 (95% CI 1.09–1.57, p = .005).
      Figure thumbnail gr2
      Figure 2Box plot of access closure time by fascia suture technique (FST) and Prostar. Note. The boxes represent the 75th and 25th percentiles; the horizontal bar within a box is the median; the whiskers are max and min if no outliers are present, otherwise open circles (○) represent outliers: values >1.5 box lengths from the 25th or 75th percentile. The asterisk (*) represents extremes: values >3 box lengths from the 25th or 75th percentile.

      Complications

      There were no significant difference in complications, p = .18 (log rank test) (Fig. 3 and Table 3) or reinterventions, p = .14 (log rank test) (Fig. 4) between the two groups. Two patients with persistent bleeding in the FST group had a primary closure of the femoral artery entry site and one of them had excessive blood loss and peri-operative cardiac arrest and was resuscitated. Nine patients in the Prostar group had bleeding complications that were treated with an arterioraphy (n = 5), a fascia suture (n = 3), or with Vasoseal (Datascope Corp., Montvale, NJ, USA) devices (n = 1). Technical problems with the Prostar device occurred with needle entrapment in one case, and in another the sutures were deployed outside the vessel. They were solved by an open repair and a fascia suture respectively.
      Figure thumbnail gr3
      Figure 3Kaplan–Meier plot of time to first access related complication (index site) in fascia suture technique (FST) and Prostar. p = .18 (log rank test).
      Table 3Number of access related (index site) complications.
      FSTProstarUnadjusted
      Evaluated by chi-square test or Fischer exact test when appropriate.
      Adjusted
      Adjusted for operator level (proficiency/basic) by logistic regression, odds ratio (OR) above 1 indicate more complications in Prostar group.
      n = 48n = 51OR (p-value)OR (p-value)
      Peri- and post-operative complications
      Peri-operative complications
      Bleeding2 (4%)9 (18%)
      Technical error with device0 (0%)2 (4%)
      Total2 (4%)11 (22%)6.3 (.01)4.6 (.06)
      Post-operative complications
      Bleeding2 (4%)0 (0%)
      Thrombosis2 (4%)0 (0%)
      Stenoses0 (0%)1 (2%)
      Neuralgia1 (2%)0 (0%)
      Total5 (10%)1 (2%)
      Total complications before discharge7 (15%)12 (24%)1.8 (.26)1.2 (.72)
      Complications after discharge
      Complications from discharge to 1 month
      Hematoma1 (2%)0 (0%)
      Wound infection0 (0%)1 (2%)
      Pseudoaneurysm0 (0%)1 (2%)
      Total1 (2%)2 (4%)
      Complications from 1 month to 6 months
      One patient in FST and three patients Prostar lost to follow up at 6 month.
      Pseudoaneurysm1 (2%)3 (6%)
      Total1 (2%)3 (6%)
      Total complications from discharge to 6 months
      One patient in FST and three patients Prostar lost to follow up at 6 month.
      2 (4%)4 (8%)
      One patient had same type of complication twice after discharge.
      Data are presented as number of patients and percentage.
      a Evaluated by chi-square test or Fischer exact test when appropriate.
      b Adjusted for operator level (proficiency/basic) by logistic regression, odds ratio (OR) above 1 indicate more complications in Prostar group.
      c One patient in FST and three patients Prostar lost to follow up at 6 month.
      d One patient had same type of complication twice after discharge.
      Figure thumbnail gr4
      Figure 4Kaplan–Meier plot of time to first reintervention in fascia suture technique (FST) and Prostar. p = .14 (log rank test).
      Post-operative complications relating to the main access site were recognized in five patients after FST. One patient had bleeding requiring arterioraphy. Thrombectomy was performed in two patients: one combined with patch and iliac stent, and one suffering local neuralgia had the fascia suture removed successfully. One local hematoma was treated conservatively. In the Prostar group one patient suffered acute ischemia on the first postoperative day. A plaque dissection was confirmed, requiring a thromboendarterectomy. The total peri-operative and immediate post-operative complication rate (technical failure) was 15% (7/48) for FST and 24% (12/51) for Prostar (Table 3). The technical failure rate for operators at the proficiency level was 5% (2/40) compared with 29% (17/59) for those at the basic level, (p = .003). The proficiency level group had a technical failure rate of 4% (1/26) for FST and 7% (1/14) for Prostar (p = 1.00), while corresponding rates for the basic level group were 27% (6/22) for FST and 30% (11/37) for Prostar (p = .84).
      Clinical follow up was performed at 1 and 6 months. At 1 month a hematoma in the FST group had resolved; in the Prostar group one pseudoaneurysm had resolved, while another patient had a wound infection successfully treated. There were no complications at 6 months. One patient in the Prostar group died at home from unknown reason before the 6 month follow up (Table 3).

      Measurements

      Nine patients had asymptomatic stenoses on pre-operative ultrasound and/or at the 6 month examination (Table 4). One patient (2%) in the FST group had a pseudoaneurysm (11 mm), as did three patients (6%) in the Prostar group (12–41 mm) (Table 3). None of these pseudoaneurysms resulted in active treatment. There was no venous thrombosis.
      Table 4Descriptive data of patients with ultrasound verified stenosis pre-operatively and at 6 months follow up (index site).
      Access closure methodPre-operative6 months
      US stenosisABIUS stenosisABI
      ProstarNo0.50Yes0.75
      ProstarYes0.46Yes0.66
      ProstarNo0.94Yes1.07
      FSTYes0.78No0.86
      ProstarYes0.73Yes0.68
      FSTYes1.06No1.17
      ProstarYes1.15Yes1.07
      FSTNo1.33Yes1.33
      ProstarNo1.08Yes1.04
      Note. Data presented only on patients with pre-operative and/or 6 months US stenosis. US = ultrasound; ABI = ankle–brachial pressure index; FST = fascia suture technique.
      Pre-operative, post-operative, 1 and 6 month follow up ABI measurements were completed in 89 patients (90%). Five patients had incompressible arteries due to Monckeberg's sclerosis. Four patients did not complete the measurement and one patient died before the 6 month follow up. ABI values did not change significantly from the pre-operative values for any group (Fig. 5).
      Figure thumbnail gr5
      Figure 5Box-plot of ankle–brachial pressure index (ABI) before and after access closure by fascia suture technique (FST) and Prostar. Note. The boxes represent the 75th and 25th percentiles; the horizontal bar within a box is the median; the whiskers are max and min if no outliers are present, otherwise open circles (○) represent outliers: values >1.5 box lengths from the 25th or 75th percentile.

      Access closure cost

      There was a significant cost difference in favor of FST, with a median difference of €800 (95% CI 710–927, p < .001) with a negligible cost for the fascia suture material. The procedure time for FST was shorter, resulting in a lower procedural cost; however, more re-operations after FST (n = 4) than Prostar (n = 1) reduced this difference. In the Prostar group, 50% of the total cost was attributable to the materials (Table 5).
      Table 5Cost analysis for access closure and access related complications (index site).
      FST (n = 48)Prostar (n = 51)Median difference (95% CI)
      Total cost
      Per patient in Euro, median (range)349 (160–4318)1,181 (920–2866)800 (710–927)
      Cost subgroups
      Primary procedure,
      Calculated as Euro 27/minute.
      sum cost in Euro (%)
      21,631 (71%)33,112 (46%)
      Material, sum cost in Euro (%)506 (2%)35,548 (50%)
      Secondary procedure,
      Calculated as Euro 22/minute.
      sum cost in Euro (%)
      8,235 (27%)1,674 (2%)
      In-hospital care,
      Calculated as Euro 643/day.
      sum cost in Euro (%)
      0 (0%)1,286 (2%)
      Total, sum cost in Euro (%)30,372 (100%)71,620 (100%)
      Note. Data are presented in Euro (1 Euro = 8.50 Swedish krona). FST = fascia suture technique.
      a Calculated as Euro 27/minute.
      b Calculated as Euro 22/minute.
      c Calculated as Euro 643/day.

      Discussion

      The data are in favor of FST as the faster method to achieve closure of the access site for operators at both the basic and the proficiency level. The complication rate seems favorable even though this trial was not powered to address any difference in complication rates. The shorter closure time had a positive economic effect, but the main reason why the fascia suture was significantly cheaper was the reduction of material costs while the complication rate was kept at an equal level. In this study it has also been shown that fascia suture can work as a bailout procedure for a failed Prostar suture.

      Comparison with other studies

      In many publications presenting percutaneous access for EVAR common reasons not to apply SMCD have been obesity and calcification,
      • Lee W.A.
      • Brown M.P.
      • Nelson P.R.
      • Huber T.S.
      Total percutaneous access for endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (“Preclose” technique).
      • Howell M.
      • Villareal R.
      • Krajcer Z.
      Percutaneous access and closure of femoral artery access sites associated with endoluminal repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
      • Borner G.
      • Ivancev K.
      • Sonesson B.
      • Lindblad B.
      • Griffin D.
      • Malina M.
      Percutaneous AAA repair: is it safe?.
      • Starnes B.W.
      • Andersen C.A.
      • Roinsvalle J.A.
      • Stockmaster N.R.
      • Mullenix P.S.
      • Statler J.D.
      Totally percutaneous aortic aneurysm repair: experience and prudence.
      • Teh L.G.
      • Sieunarine K.
      • van Schie G.
      • Goodman M.A.
      • Lawrence-Brown M.
      • Prendergast F.J.
      • et al.
      Use of the percutaneous vascular surgery device for closure of femoral access sites during endovascular aneurysm repair: lessons from our experience.
      • Watelet J.
      • Gallot J.C.
      • Thomas P.
      • Douvrin F.
      • Plissonnier D.
      Percutaneous repair of aortic aneurysms: a prospective study of suture-mediated closure devices.
      • Torsello G.B.
      • Kasprzak B.
      • Klenk E.
      • Tessarek J.
      • Osada N.
      • Torsello G.F.
      Endovascular suture versus cutdown for endovascular aneurysm repair: a prospective randomized pilot study.
      although successful outcomes have been reported for this group of patients.
      • Smith S.T.
      • Timaran C.H.
      • Valentine R.J.
      • Rosero E.B.
      • Clagett G.P.
      • Arko F.R.
      Percutaneous access for endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair: can selection criteria be expanded?.
      Mousa et al.
      • Mousa A.Y.
      • Campbell J.E.
      • Broce M.
      • Abu-Halimah S.
      • Stone P.A.
      • Hass S.M.
      • et al.
      Predictors of percutaneous access failure requiring open femoral surgical conversion during endovascular aortic aneurysm repair.
      reported severely calcified arteries as predictive of conversion but BMI was a non-significant predictor. Calcification and BMI were not exclusion criteria in the study. FST has a potential advantage in calcified arteries, as the stitches do not involve the vessel wall. Previous groin surgery has also been a reason to exclude patients from percutaneous EVAR.
      • Teh L.G.
      • Sieunarine K.
      • van Schie G.
      • Goodman M.A.
      • Lawrence-Brown M.
      • Prendergast F.J.
      • et al.
      Use of the percutaneous vascular surgery device for closure of femoral access sites during endovascular aneurysm repair: lessons from our experience.
      It was not possible to evaluate the effect of a scarred groin (present in just four patients), but in the authors' experience scarred tissue works as well as normal fascia for FST.
      There was a strong relationship between reduced technical failure and high level operator experience in line with previous reports for Prostar, which indicates an important learning process.
      • Eisenack M.
      • Umscheid T.
      • Tessarek J.
      • Torsello G.F.
      • Torsello G.B.
      Percutaneous endovascular aortic aneurysm repair: a prospective evaluation of safety, efficiency and risk factors.
      • Metcalfe M.J.
      • Brownrigg J.R.W.
      • Black S.A.
      • Loosemore T.
      • Loftus I.M.
      • Thompson M.M.
      Unselected percutaneous access with large vessel closure for endovascular aortic surgery: experience and predictors of technical success.
      Metcalfe et al.
      • Metcalfe M.J.
      • Brownrigg J.R.W.
      • Black S.A.
      • Loosemore T.
      • Loftus I.M.
      • Thompson M.M.
      Unselected percutaneous access with large vessel closure for endovascular aortic surgery: experience and predictors of technical success.
      used a cutoff of 20 supervised deployments of Prostar to define a proficiency level, and 15 cases constituted the request for “license.” In the hands of experienced operators, the complication rate was 4–7%, close to earlier reports for either technique.
      • Malkawi A.H.
      • Hinchliffe R.J.
      • Holt P.J.
      • Loftus I.M.
      • Thompson M.M.
      Percutaneous access for endovascular aneurysm repair: a systematic review.
      • Larzon T.
      • Geijer H.
      • Gruber G.
      • Popek R.
      • Norgren L.
      Fascia suturing of large access sites after endovascular treatment of aortic aneurysms and dissections.
      • Harrison G.J.
      • Thavarajan D.
      • Brennan J.A.
      • Vallabhaneni S.R.
      • McWilliams R.G.
      • Fisher R.K.
      Fascial closure following percutaneous endovascular aneurysm repair.
      • Montán C.
      • Lehti L.
      • Holst J.
      • Björses K.
      • Resch T.A.
      Short- and midterm results of the fascia suture technique for closure of femoral artery access sites after endovascular aneurysm repair.
      • Mathisen S.R.
      • Zimmerman E.
      • Markström U.
      • Mattsson K.
      • Larzon T.
      Complication rate of the fascia closure technique in endovascular aneurysm repair.
      • Smith S.T.
      • Timaran C.H.
      • Valentine R.J.
      • Rosero E.B.
      • Clagett G.P.
      • Arko F.R.
      Percutaneous access for endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair: can selection criteria be expanded?.
      The closure time was, however, shorter for FST regardless of experience level.
      Technical failures were usually detected and managed pre-operatively, and the few post-operative complications could be solved before discharge. Three patients had minor complications detected at clinical follow up. Small pseudoaneurysms after FST have been described in up to 14% at the 1 month follow up,
      • Mathisen S.R.
      • Zimmerman E.
      • Markström U.
      • Mattsson K.
      • Larzon T.
      Complication rate of the fascia closure technique in endovascular aneurysm repair.
      but they usually seal spontaneously and reinterventions are rarely required. The same observations have been made after Prostar.
      • Skagius E.
      • Bosnjak M.
      • Björck M.
      • Steuer J.
      • Nyman R.
      • Wanhainen A.
      Percutaneous closure of large femoral artery access with Prostar XL in thoracic endovascular aortic repair.
      In this study pseudoaneurysms were rare, 2% after FST and 6% after Prostar, at 6 month follow up. A more aggressive surveillance protocol, as suggested,
      • Ahmad F.
      • Turner S.A.
      • Torrie P.
      • Gibson M.
      Iatrogenic femoral artery pseudoaneurysms – a review of current methods of diagnosis and treatment.
      seems unjustified.

      Strengths and limitations

      The strength of this trial is that no anatomical exclusion criteria were accepted except the presence of an aneurysm at the access site. The two participating centers had different protocols; in one, FST was the routine technique and in the other Prostar. The two techniques were applied and harmonized with a strict protocol for both centers. Ahead of the study the teams trained each other in order to get “closure license” for both techniques. Fifteen procedures were recognized as a minimum request for a “license” and 60 procedures were used as an arbitrary measure of proficiency. The “license” was achieved by carrying out a few procedures during supervision followed by a self reported statement by the participating doctors. It may be a limitation that no formal examination was performed. Technical failure was initially discussed as a primary endpoint. Significantly more patients had to be included, which was not realistic due to problems with patient recruitment, based on the limited use of FST when the study was designed. The primary endpoint was access closure time and a limitation is that the procedure time could be influenced in an open study, a risk reduced by detailed stopwatch timekeeping. Another limitation is that the outcome of the randomization was skewed with regard to operator experience and BMI, and is the reason why statistical adjustments were made.
      The study protocol did not require strict guidelines for post-operative management and the period of supine rest was not defined. Whether early mobilization increases the risk of bleeding or pseudoaneurysm formation cannot be concluded. A strength of the study is that no external compression was allowed, whereas it was in another report.
      • Montán C.
      • Lehti L.
      • Holst J.
      • Björses K.
      • Resch T.A.
      Short- and midterm results of the fascia suture technique for closure of femoral artery access sites after endovascular aneurysm repair.
      Vascular surgeons performed the majority of the procedures, which may have been beneficial for FST as it utilizes standard surgical materials and technique. The Prostar technique has the advantage of maintaining EVAR as a strictly percutaneous procedure while the FST requires a limited groin dissection to the femoral fascia, which is an uncommon procedure for interventional radiologists. It might be a limitation that a procedures log and a protocol with standardized questions were not established during the training phase.

      Future work

      Logistically it was not possible to include ruptured aortic aneurysms in this trial. However, FST was routinely implemented in the repair of these cases. The FST did not reach the 10-minute threshold for a clinically relevant difference, but with the advantage of no need for pre-suturing, FST is probably of greater benefit in emergency situations than in elective operations.
      With increased FST experience, as gained in this study, it has been possible to identify some risk factors for failure. Puncture above the inguinal ligament should be avoided, as there is no femoral fascia to cover the access hole at this location. A careful evaluation of the computed tomography image to determine the relationship between the femoral bifurcation and skeletal reference points is useful to ensure an optimal puncture site. Ultrasound guided puncture is valuable, as is angiography, to confirm an appropriate puncture site before exchange to a large bore sheath takes place.
      The stitches of the suture must be sufficiently deep in order to achieve tissue for the “fascia plug.” On the other hand, stitches that are too deep may cause obstruction. The study showed that post-operative complications (bleeding, thrombosis) were slightly more common in the FST group. By using a duplex Doppler device, the blood flow velocity can be evaluated peri-operatively to prevent arterial constriction.
      In conclusion, the fascia suture technique is a faster and cheaper technique than the suture-mediated closure device, Prostar XL. The trial was not powered to show possible differences in complication rates between the two techniques. A significant independent risk factor was shown to be operator experience, independent of which closure technique was used. To get an optimal outcome, a proper training program should be implemented.

      Acknowledgments

      Robert Popek, Håkan Geijer, Barbara Bergman, Joanna Sternal and Farida Hashimi contributed by performing the ultrasound scans and the study nurses Marlene Hensäter, Monica Clomén and Roya Razzazan collected the data.

      Conflict of Interest

      None.

      Funding

      None.

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