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 20 November 2017

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News

Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms reduces mortality

Mass screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms in Danish men aged 65 or more reduces mortality by 67%, reports this week's British Medical Journal.

News image

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Dr Lindholt and colleagues from Denmark determined whether screening Danish men aged 65 or more for abdominal aortic aneurysms reduces mortality.

The research team designed a single centre randomised controlled trial set in all five hospitals in Viborg County, Denmark.

The team enrolled 12, 639 men born during 1921 to 1933 and living in Viborg County.

In 1994 the researchers included men between 64 and 73 years of age and those who became 65 during 1995 to 1998.

The investigative team randomized the men to the intervention group/screening by abdominal ultrasonography or control group.

Participants with an abdominal aortic aneurysm more than 5 cm were referred for surgical evaluation, and those with smaller aneurysms were offered annual scans.

The team considered outomes including specific mortality due to abdominal aortic aneurysm, overall mortality, and number of planned and emergency operations for abdominal aortic aneurysms.

The number needed to screen to save 1 life was 352
British Medical Journal

4860 of 6333 men were screened and 191 of those who were screened had abdominal aortic aneurysms.

The researchers conducted a follow-up at 52 months and noted that the screened group underwent 75% fewer emergency operations than the control group.

Deaths due to abdominal aortic aneurysms occurred in 9 patients in the screened group and 27 in the control group.

The investigators observed that the number needed to screen to save 1 life was 352 and specific mortality was significantly reduced by 67%.

Mortality due to non-abdominal aortic aneurysms was non-significantly reduced by 8%.

Dr Lindholt’s team concludes, “The benefits of screening may increase with time.”

“Mass screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms in Danish men aged 65 or more reduces mortality.”

BMJ 2005: 330: 750
06 April 2005

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