Charting the Benefits of AAA Screening in England


The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) in England has invited around 1.3 million 65-year-old men for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening since 2009. Dr. Jonothan Earnshaw and his colleagues performed a study to examine the results of this screening and the safety of the men in surveillance.

Dr. Jonothan Earnshaw

Dr. Jonothan Earnshaw

The NHS AAA Screening Programme (NAAASP) conducted ultrasound scans to look for AAAs, according to Dr. Earnshaw.

A total of 1,019,480 of those invited were scanned (79.5%). The prevalence of an AAA greater than 2.9 cm diameter was 1.3% (falling from 1.7% in 2009 and 2010 to 1.1% in 2015).

A total of 11,972 men had small (3-4.5 cm) or medium (4.5-5.4 cm) AAAs and were monitored via surveillance, with 13 deaths from AAA rupture.

Some 1,025 men with initial aortic diameter greater than 5.4 cm, and a further 898 men whose AAA grew during surveillance were referred for consideration of elective AAA repair. Mortality in those men who were electively treated was 0.91%.

“Although the prevalence of AAA in 65-year-old men is lower than expected and may be falling, the NAAASP remains cost-effective and is finding large numbers of AAA,” according to Dr. Earnshaw.

“It remains on course to prevent up to half of deaths from ruptured AAA by the end of the decade,” he concluded.

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