Epidural anaesthesia and mini-laparotomy for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Kalko, Y
Ugurlucan, M
Basaran, M
Aydin, U
Kafa, U
Kosker, T
Suren, M
Yasar, T
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The purpose of this study is to compare the use of epidural and general anaesthesia techniques in the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) through mini-laparotomy in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Between March 2002 and October 2005, 23 patients with severe COPD underwent elective infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. Endovascular therapy could not be established due to financial reasons and health insurance policies. All the operations were performed through mini-laparotomy, using epidural anaesthesia on 10 patients (Group I) and general anaesthesia on the remaining patients (Group II). Pulmonary disease was diagnosed by clinical history and pulmonary function tests. The diagnosis of severe COPD was made with the presence of one or more of the following criteria : Room air PaO2 < or = 60 mmHg, PaCO2 > or = mmHg in arterial blood gas samples, FEV1 < or = 50% of predicted value and FVC < or = 75% of predicted value in respiratory function tests.
There was no significant difference between the ages, sex, pre-operative morbidity status, operation time and total blood loss of the patients in the two groups. Postoperative intensive care unit requirement, postoperative pulmonary complications and hospital stay were significantly higher in group II. All patients tolerated surgery safely. There was one in-hospital mortality from group II on the 35th postoperative day due to prolonged entubation and sepsis related to pulmonary infections. There was no late morbidity or mortality related to the technique in the postoperative follow-up period of the discharged patients.
Epidural anaesthesia for abdominal aortic aneurysm repair through mini-laparotomy is feasible and should be especially considered in patients with severe COPD where endovascular treatment could not be performed.
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