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Use of Non-randomised Evidence Alongside Randomised Trials in a Systematic Review of Endovascular Aneurysm Repair: Strengths and Limitations

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Publication details

JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
DatePublished - Jan 2010
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)26-34
Original languageEnglish


Objective: To assess whether limitations of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) can be addressed by evidence from non-randomised studies.

Design: Analysis of data from a systematic review.

Methods: We conducted a review of EVAR versus open repair or non-surgical management of abdominal aortic aneurysms. In addition to RCTs, we included pre-specified registries of EVAR and open repair.

Results: The six included RCTs randomised patients in 2003 and earlier. Of the three registries included, one contributed data on a large (>8000) sample of patients treated with newer generation EVAR devices and followed up for up to 8 years. However, treatment dates of these patients overlapped with those of the RCTs. The other registries were of limited usefulness. A large (>45,000) controlled observational study published while the review was in progress broadly supported the findings of RCTs comparing EVAR with open surgery. A comparison of outcomes across all studies did not support the hypothesis that the findings of the RCTs are no longer representative of clinical practice.

Conclusions: Both randomised and non-randomised sources of evidence have strengths and weaknesses for assessing the effectiveness of EVAR. Further research should explore the optimum use of registry data, including patient-Level analyses. Crown Copyright (C) 2009 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of European Society for Vascular Surgery. All rights reserved.

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