Acquiring contemporary data on prevalence and natural history of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) is essential in the effort to optimise modern screening programmes. The primary aim of this study was to determine the fate of a 65-year-old male population 5 years following an invitation to an aortic ultrasound (US) examination.
In this population-based cohort-study, men were invited to US examination at age 65, and were re-invited at age 70. Mortality, AAA repair, and risk factors were recorded. An AAA was defined as a diameter ≥30 mm, and a sub-aneurysmal aorta as 25-29 mm.
In 2006-2007, 3,268 65-year-old men were invited, and 2,736 (83.7%) were examined. After 5 years, 24 had completed AAA repair (6 died within 0-4 years), an additional 239 had died, and 194 had moved. Thus, 2,811 70-year-old men were re-invited, and 2,247 (79.9%) were examined. The AAA prevalence increased from 1.5% at 65 to 2.4% (95% CI: 1.8 to 3.0) at 70, and of sub-aneurysmal aortas from 1.7% at 65 to 2.6% (2.0 to 3.3), at 70. Of 2,041 with <25 mm at 65, 0.7% had an AAA at 70. Of 40 with a sub-aneurysmal aorta at 65, 52.5% progressed to AAA at 70. In a Cox regression analysis, sub-aneurysmal aorta at 65 (hazard ratio [HR] 59.78) and smoking (HR 2.78) were independent risk factors for AAA formation. Among 44 with AAA at 65, 22 completed AAA repair with no 30-day mortality.
AAA screening in a contemporary setting was safe at 5 years, with a single AAA rupture observed among non-attenders. Men with a screening detected AAA had a high repair rate and high non-AAA related mortality. AAA-formation was common among men with sub-aneurysmal dilatation, indicating a possible need for surveillance of this group.
2014. Vol. 47, no 1, 37-44 p.