Concomitant Detection of Systemic Atherosclerotic Disease while Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Waterhouse, D. F.; Cahill, R. A.; Sheehan, F.; Sheehan, S. J.
July 2006
World Journal of Surgery;Jul2006, Vol. 30 Issue 7, p1350
Academic Journal
Introduction: Although population screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) has/had a significant impact on disease-specific mortality, coexisting systemic atherosclerosis represents the major impediment to improved longevity. We examined the feasibility and yield of full cardiovascular assessment concomitant with screening for AAA detection. Methods: A total of 1032 asymptomatic men over the age of 50 years (328 were >60 years) underwent a detailed cardiac health questionnaire, sphygmomanometry, body mass index calculation, fasting lipid profiling, ultrasonographic (US) examination of their infrarenal aorta and carotid arteries, and treadmill exercise stress testing. Framingham and SCORE project estimations of the 10-year risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) and fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD) of any cause were calculated for the men with an AAA and in those >60 years but with neither AAA nor known cardiac disease. Results: Overall, we detected an AAA >3 cm in 30 men (2.9%). Unaddressed obesity, smoking, hypertension, impaired glucose metabolism, and hypercholesterolemia were commonly identified in individuals both with and without an AAA, being notably frequent in those >60 years without an AAA. The 10-year risk of IHD and CHD in those >60 years was similar regardless of whether an AAA was present. Doppler screening for significant carotid stenosis had detection rates similar to those for aortic US scanning, being most useful in those >65 years of age. Exercise stress testing, however, was of only limited value when used nonselectively. Conclusions: Modifiable atherosclerotic disease and cardiovascular risk can be readily detected in individuals presenting for AAA screening and are present to a significant degree at an earlier age. Consideration of selected, additional investigations is required to maximize the value of generalized screening programs.


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