• abdominal aortic aneurysm;
  • outcomes;
  • quality;
  • record linkage;
  • standards;
  • surgery;
  • Western Australia.


The Quality of Surgical Care Project (QSCP) was established in May 1996, to evaluate surgical outcomes and where indicated, recommend changes to improve the quality of surgical care in Western Australia (WA). The purpose of this study is to establish benchmark standards in WA for operative mortality, 5-year survival and length of stay in all patients who were surgically treated for aneurysm of the abdominal aorta (AAA) in WA.


The WA Linked Database was used to link the morbidity and mortality records of all patients admitted and surgically treated for AAA in WA from 1985 to 1994. The linked chains of de-identified hospital morbidity and death records were selected using diagnostic and procedure codes pertaining to AAA. Three groups were separated for analysis: those admitted for rupture, those admitted for elective repair, and those who were admitted to hospital as an emergency without mention of rupture but who underwent repair for AAA. Independent analysis for gender and patients 80 years or more were included in the study. Patients were excluded from the study if they were less than 55 years of age.


A total of 1475 cases (1257 males, 218 females) were identified. The mean age in elective cases was 70.4 years in males and 72.4 years in females, and for rupture the mean ages were 71.9 and 74.8 years, respectively. Median length of stay for males was 12 days for elective cases. Admission type or age did not significantly influence length of stay. Thirty-day mortality in males was 4.4% for elective repair and 36.7% for ruptured AAA and 5-year survival was 71.7 and 47.7%, respectively. The overall case fatality rate for ruptured AAA was 79.3% which included those cases who died from rupture without being admitted to hospital.


These community-wide data provide a realistic measure of surgical performance for open repair of AAA. The outcomes for elective and rupture repair for AAA compare favourably with standards reported by international centres of excellence. They also support the use of this procedure in patients over 80 years of age with rupture. This information can be used for ongoing audit purposes and as a benchmark for the introduction of new treatment modalities.