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Pharmacological treatment of vascular risk factors for reducing mortality and cardiovascular events in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm

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Background: Pharmacological prophylaxis has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with atherosclerotic occlusive arterial disease. However, the role of prophylaxis in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) remains unclear. Several studies have shown that despite successful repair, those with AAA have a poorer rate of survival than healthy controls. People with AAA have an increased prevalence of coronary heart disease and risk of cardiovascular events. Despite this association, little is known about the effectiveness of pharmacological prophylaxis in reducing cardiovascular risk in people with AAA. Objectives: To determine the long-term effectiveness of antiplatelet, antihypertensive or lipid-lowering medication in reducing mortality and cardiovascular events in people with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Search methods: The Cochrane Peripheral Vascular Diseases Group Trials Search Co-ordinator searched the Specialised Register (last searched April 2013) and CENTRAL (2013, Issue 3). Reference lists of relevant articles were also checked. Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials in which people with AAA were randomly allocated to one prophylactic treatment versus another, a different regimen of the same treatment, a placebo, or no treatment were eligible for inclusion in this review. Primary outcomes included all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality. Data collection and analysis: Selection of the studies, quality assessment and data extraction were completed independently by two review authors. Any disagreements were resolved by discussion. Only one study was included in the review, therefore meta-analysis could not be performed. Main results: One randomised controlled study was included in the review. A subgroup of 227 patients with AAA received either metoprolol (N = 111) or placebo (N = 116). There was no clear evidence that metoprolol reduced all-cause mortality (odds ratio (OR) 0.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02 to 1.41), cardiovascular death (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.02 to 1.76), AAA-related death (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.06 to 16.92) or increased nonfatal cardiovascular events (OR 1.44, 95% CI 0.58 to 3.57) 30 days postoperatively. Furthermore, at six months postoperatively, estimated effects were compatible with benefit and harm for all-cause mortality (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.26 to 1.95), cardiovascular death (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.23 to 2.39) and nonfatal cardiovascular events (OR 1.41, 95% CI 0.59 to 3.35). Adverse drug effects were reported for the whole study population and were not available for the subgroup of participants with AAA. The study was deemed to be at a generally low risk of bias. Authors' conclusions: Due to the limited number of trials, there is insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of cardiovascular prophylaxis in reducing mortality and cardiovascular events in people with AAA. Further good-quality randomised controlled trials examining many types of prophylaxis with long-term follow-up are required before firm conclusions can be made.




Robertson, L., Atallah, E., & Stansby, G. (2014, January 21). Pharmacological treatment of vascular risk factors for reducing mortality and cardiovascular events in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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