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Why routine intensive care unit admission after elective open infrarenal Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm repair is no longer an evidence based practice.BACKGROUND: Elective open infrarenal Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) repair is major surgery performed on high-risk patients. Routine ICU admission postoperatively is the current accepted standard of care. Few of these patients actually require a level of care that cannot be provided just as effectively in a surgical high dependency unit (HDU). Our aim was to determine, 'can high risk patients that will require ICU admission postoperatively be reliably identified preoperatively?'. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of all elective open infrarenal AAA repairs in our institution over a 3-year period was performed. The Estimation of Physiological Ability and Surgical Stress (E-PASS) model was used as our risk stratification tool for predicting post-operative morbidity. Renal function was also considered as a predictor of outcome, independent of the E-PASS. RESULTS: 80% (n = 16) were admitted to ICU. Only 30% (n = 6) of the total study population necessitated intensive care. There were 9 complications in 7 patients in our study. The E-PASS comprehensive risk score (CRS)/Surgical stress score (SSS) were found to be significantly associated with the presence of a complication (p = 0.009)/(p = 0.032) respectively. Serum creatinine (p = 0.013) was similarly significantly associated with the presence of a complication. CONCLUSIONS: The E-PASS model possessing increasing external validity is an effective risk stratification tool in safely deciding the appropriate level of post-operative care for elective infrarenal AAA repairs.