Extended screening guidelines for the diagnosis of abdominal aortic aneurysm

Matthew L. Carnevale, Issam Koleilat, Evan C. Lipsitz, Patricia Friedmann, Jeffrey E. Indes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines are the most widely used criteria for screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). However, when the USPSTF criteria are applied retrospectively to a group of patients who have undergone treatment for AAA, there are many patients who satisfy none of the AAA screening criteria. The more sensitive Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) guidelines have expanded the criteria for screening for AAA with the hope of capturing a greater fraction of those individuals who can undergo treatment for their AAA before presenting with AAA rupture. We sought to identify the number of patients who would have been identified as having criteria for screening for AAA by both the USPSTF and SVS criteria, in a cohort of patients who have undergone treatment for AAA. Methods: We assessed demographic, comorbidity, and perioperative complication data for all patients undergoing endovascular and open AAA repair in the Vascular Quality Initiative. Patients meeting each of the screening criteria were identified. Clinical factors and demographic variables were collected. Results: We identified 55,197 patients undergoing AAA repair in the Vascular Quality Initiative, including 44,602 patients who underwent endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) and 10,595 patients undergoing open repair. Of these, the USPTF guidelines would have identified fewer than one-third of patients (32% EVAR and 33% open repair). Applying the SVS guidelines increased the number meeting criteria for screening by 6% and 12% for the EVAR and open repair cohorts, respectively. Finally, adoption of the expanded SVS guidelines (including the “weak recommendations”) would have identified an additional 34% of EVAR patients and 21% of open AAA repair patients. Use of the expanded criteria would have resulted in 27% of patients undergoing EVAR and 33% of patients undergoing open AAA repair who would not have met any screening criteria. In EVAR patients not meeting the criteria, 52% were younger than 65 years had a history of heavy smoking. Of all those who did not meet screening criteria, ruptured AAA was twice as prevalent as those who met screening criteria (8.5% vs 4.4%; P ≤ .0001). Conclusions: Expanding established USPSTF screening guidelines to include the expanded SVS criteria may potentially double the number of patients identified with AAA. Smokers under the age of 65, and elderly patients 70 and older with no smoking history, represent two groups with AAA and potentially twice the risk of presenting with rupture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1917-1926
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • SVS
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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