USPSTF on screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm

The USPSTF continues to recommend screening primarily in 65- to 75-year-old men who have ever smoked.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)​

Prevalence of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs; defined by an aortic diameter of ≥3.0 cm) in adults older than 50 is as high as 7% in men and 1% in women. In 2005, the USPSTF recommended one-time screening by ultrasonography in 65- to 75-year-old men who had ever smoked (defined as having ever smoked ≥100 cigarettes) and recommended against routine screening in women (NEJM JW Gen Med Feb 18 2005). The USPSTF now has updated its recommendations.

Key Points
—Risk factors: Older age; positive smoking history; having a first-degree relative with AAA; and having a history of vascular aneurysms, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, or hypertension.
—As in 2005, the Task Force continues to recommend:
* One-time screening for AAAs with ultrasound in 65- to 75-year-old men who have ever smoked (Grade: B [recommend]).
* Selective screening for AAAs in 65- to 75-year-old men who have never smoked, if additional risk factors are present (Grade: C [recommend for selected patients]).
* No screening for women who have never smoked (Grade D: [recommend against]).

—The Task Force finds insufficient data to determine the balance of benefits and harms of screening for AAAs in 65- to 75-year-old women who have ever smoked (Grade: I [no recommendation]).
—Screening test: Abdominal duplex ultrasonography has sensitivity and specificity of 97% and 99%, respectively, and is the standard approach for AAA screening.
* Refer patients with large AAAs (≥5.5 cm) for open repair or endovascular intervention.
* For smaller AAAs (3.0–5.4 cm), manage patients conservatively (e.g., with repeat ultrasonography every 3–12 months).
—Screening in men is associated with an absolute risk reduction in AAA-related death of 1.4 per 1000 men screened.

LeFevre ML et al. Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med 2014 Jun 24; [e-pub ahead of print]. (

Read all articles in Cardiovascular diseases, Emergency Procedures, medical procedures
Tags: abdominal aortic aneurysm, HPC updates, screening, smoking, ultrasonography

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