Pharmacological prophylaxis has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in individuals with atherosclerotic occlusive arterial disease. However, the role of prophylaxis in individuals with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) remains unclear. Several studies have shown that despite successful repair, those people 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. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2014.
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).
For this update the Cochrane Vascular Information Specialist (CIS) searched the Cochrane Vascular Specialised Register (14 April 2016). In addition, the CIS searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (2016, Issue 3) and trials registries (14 April 2016) and We also searched the reference lists of relevant articles.
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.
Two review authors independently selected studies for inclusion, and completed quality assessment and data extraction. We resolved any disagreements by discussion. Only one study met the inclusion criteria of the review, therefore we were unable to perform meta-analysis.
No new studies met the inclusion criteria for this update. We included one randomised controlled trial in the review. A subgroup of 227 participants 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. We considered the study to be at a generally low risk of bias. We downgraded the quality of the evidence for all outcomes to low. We downgraded the quality of evidence for imprecision as only one study with a small number of participants was available, the number of events was small and the result was consistent with benefit and harm.
Due to the limited number of included 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 that examine many types of prophylaxis with long-term follow-up are required before firm conclusions can be made.