What measurement means for repairing abdominal aortic aneurysms

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) happens in the part of the aorta (main artery that supplies blood to the heart) located in the abdomen. Aneurysms happens when the walls of an artery become weakened or damaged. The force of blood against artery walls then causes a balloon-like bulge, called an aneurysm.

If the aneurysm ruptures (breaks open) it is a medical emergency. Surgical repair can be life-saving, and high-quality AAA repair should return good blood flow to the heart.

Although AAA repair is relatively safe, people who have this procedure are at risk for complications, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Prolonged ileus (lazy bowel)
  • Heart failure
  • Death
How to understand Proficiency Ratings

Hospitals performing 32 or more AAA repair procedures have achieved proficiency – this can be a sign of high-quality care. Hospitals performing less than 10 procedures may do so on an emergency basis, and their ratings are not included in this report.

How to understand Mortality Ratings

A high mortality rate may not be due to medical errors. Some hospitals may experience a greater number of deaths because they see more sick patients. Our mortality rate information is shown as a comparison between a hospital’s actual mortality rate and the rate expected for that hospital. A rate that is the “Same” or “Better” than expected can be a sign of high-quality care.