REVIEW – June-july 2021

Abdominal aortic aneurysm – can this condition be screened?

Authors: Eeva-Liisa Rätsep, Priit Põder

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Abstract

Adominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) mainly affect elderly men over the age of 65 years. The aneurysm usually remains asymptomatic until it ruptures and it is therefore a condition which is challenging for early diagnosis. The mortality of a ruptured AAA can be as high as 80-90%. Using ultrasound scan is beneficial owing to the specificity and sensitivity of this method. A number of countries have begun to implement AAA screening, utilising a single abdominal ultrasonography scan to diagnose this condition earlier. This allows the physician to opt for elective rather than emergency surgery. It has been noted that mortality in the case of elective surgery is approximately 10 times lower than in the case of emergency surgery. The data provided in this review demonstrates that AAA screening in men aged 65 and older is both evidence based and cost effective.