Objective: In 2007, Medicare established ultrasound screening guidelines to identify patients at risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The purpose of this study was to evaluate AAA diagnosis rates and compliance with screening during 10 years (2007-2016) of the Screen for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Very Efficiently Act implementation within a regional health care system. Methods: A retrospective chart review of all patients screened for AAA from 2007 to 2016 within a regional Veterans Affairs health care system was conducted. Screening criteria were men 65 to 75 years of age who smoked a minimum of 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. An AAA was defined as a maximum aortic diameter ≥3 cm. A comparison was made of the AAA diagnosis rate and clinical adherence rate of screening criteria between the first 5 years and total years evaluated. AAA-related mortality was identified by using terminal diagnosis notes or autopsy reports. All data were recorded by August 31, 2017. Results: A total of 19,649 patients (70.7 ± 4.8 years of age, mean ± standard deviation) were screened from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2016. There were 9916 new patients screened from 2012 to 2016. A total of 1232 aneurysms (6.3% total patients) were identified during the 10-year period. The overall AAA diagnosis rate has declined from 7.2% in the first 5 years to 6.3% in 10 years (13.5% decrease; P <.01). There were 66 patients found with AAA ≥5.5 cm (5.3% of AAAs), and 54 of these patients received successful elective repair. A total of 2321 patients died (11.8%) and 6 deaths were suspected AAA ruptures (0.03%) within the analysis period. A total of 3680 patients screened (18.7%) did not meet screening criteria: 593 patients were <65 years of age, 3087 patients were >75 years of age, and 59 patients were women. This rate has declined from 28.2% within the first 5 years to 18.7% overall in 10 years (33.7% decrease; P <.01). The compliance of screened patients using screening criteria improved significantly from 61.7% in 2007 to 92.4% in 2016 (P <.01). The overall compliance rate since implementation of the screening program during the past 10 years is 81.3%. Conclusions: The overall 10-year rate of AAA diagnosis is 6.3%. There are more smaller aneurysms (3.0-4.4 cm) detected and fewer large AAAs ≥5.5 cm in the last 5 years compared with the first 5 years of the screening program. The overall AAA-related mortality rate of all screened patients is 0.03%. There were 54 patients with AAA ≥5.5 cm who underwent successful elective repair resulting from the AAA screening program. The overall compliance of screened patients using screening criteria improved significantly from 61.7% in 2007 to 81.3% since implementation of the screening program during the past 10 years.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine