MEDLINE Journals

    Abdominal aortic aneurysm in women: prevalence, risk factors, and implications for screening.


    Derubertis BG, Trocciola SM, Ryer EJ, et al. 


    J Vasc Surg 2007 Oct; 46(4) :630-635.


    Accurate data regarding the prevalence and associated risk factors for aneurysmal disease is essential when determining the appropriateness of screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Although women are poorly represented in most large studies of AAA prevalence, the US Preventative Services Task Force recently recommended against primary screening for AAA in women. The purpose of this analysis was to define the prevalence and risk factors associated with the development of AAA in women.
    A free duplex ultrasound screening was offered to men and women with cardiovascular risk factors or a family history of AAA. Patients were recruited through advertising at local screening centers and screenings were performed between 2004 and 2006. Demographic information and cardiovascular and aneurysmal disease risk factors were obtained for each patient through a questionnaire. A total of 17,540 subjects were screened for AAA, including 10,012 women (mean age 69.6 years) and 7528 men (mean age 70.0 years). Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed on the subset of women that were screened to determine risk factors for and prevalence of AAA.
    Seventy-four aneurysms were detected in women (including four aneurysms >5 cm diameter and 70 aneurysms 3 to 5 cm diameter) while 291 were detected in men, resulting in prevalence rates of 0.7% and 3.9%, respectively. Increasing age (odds ratio [OR]= 4.57, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.98 to 10.54, P < .0001), history of tobacco use (OR = 3.29, 95% CI 1.86 to 5.80, P < .0001), and cardiovascular disease (OR= 3.57, 95% CI 2.19 to 5.84, P < .0001) were independently associated with AAA in women on univariate and multivariable analysis. Women with multiple atherosclerotic risk factors were more commonly found to have AAAs and had a prevalence rate of AAA as high as 6.4%.
    Although the medical literature suggests a low prevalence rate of AAA in women in the general population, specific risk factors are associated with the development of AAA, and subgroups of women can be identified that are at a substantially increased risk of aneurysmal disease. In particular, elevated rates of AAA were found among women of advanced age (> or =65 years) with a history of smoking or heart disease. These data support the notion that women with such risk factors should be considered for AAA screening.


    Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal
    Heart Diseases
    Risk Factors



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    Journal Article

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