Development of a comorbidity index for patients undergoing abdominal aortic aneurysm repair

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of vascular surgery




Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Comorbidity index; Endovascular aneurysm repair; Mortality prediction; Open surgical repair


BACKGROUND: Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) and open surgical repair (OSR) are two modalities to treat patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Alternative to individual comorbidity adjustment, a summary comorbidity index is a weighted composite score of all comorbidities that can be used as standard metric to control for comorbidity burden in clinical studies. This study aimed to develop summary comorbidity indices for patients who underwent AAA repair. METHODS: Patients who went under EVAR or OSR were identified in National Inpatient Sample (NIS) between the last quarter of 2015 to 2020. In each group, patients were randomly sampled into experimental (2/3) and validation (1/3) groups. The weights of Elixhauser comorbidities were determined from a multivariable logistic regression and single comorbidity indices were developed for EVAR and OAR groups, respectively. RESULTS: There were 34,668 patients underwent EVAR (2.19% mortality) and 4792 underwent OSR (10.98% mortality). Both comorbidity indices had moderate discriminative power (EVAR c-statistic, 0.641; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.616-0.665; OSR c-statistic, 0.600; 95% CI, 0.563-0.630) and good calibration (EVAR Brier score, 0.021; OSR Brier score, 0.096). The indices had significantly better discriminative power (DeLong P <.001) than the Elixhauser Comorbidity Index (ECI) (EVAR c-statistic, 0.572; 95% CI, 0.546-0.597; OSR c-statistic, 0.502; 95% CI, 0.472-0.533). For internal validation, both indices had similar performance compared with individual comorbidity adjustment (EVAR DeLong P = .650; OSR DeLong P = .431). These indices demonstrated good external validation, exhibiting comparable performance to their respective validation groups (EVAR DeLong P = .891; OSR DeLong P = .757). CONCLUSIONS: ECI, the comorbidity index formulated for the general population, exhibited suboptimal performance in patients who underwent AAA repair. In response, we developed summary comorbidity indices for both EVAR and OSR for AAA repair, which were internally and externally validated. The EVAR and OSR comorbidity indices outperformed the ECI in discriminating in-hospital mortality rates. They can standardize comorbidity measurement for clinical studies in AAA repair, especially for studies with small samples such as single-institute data sources to facilitate replication and comparison of results across studies.