A new health study is recommending men over 65 years of age be screened for their odds of developing an aneurysm and those at highest risk should be tested more than once.
The study’s findings, published in the British Medical Journal, indicate such screenings are not only cost-effective, but can save lives.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms, caused by ballooning of the artery wall, typically strike men between 65 and 75 years old and are more common among smokers. If the artery ruptures, the risk of death is high, but aneurysms at risk of rupture can be detected by screening and surgically repaired.
To determine the value and effectiveness of screening, Danish researchers developed a prediction model for 100,000 men aged 65 years to test four different screening strategies: no screening; once per lifetime screening; twice per lifetime screening with a 5-year interval; and lifetime screening every five years.
They found screening is highly cost effective compared with no screening and suggest that rescreening individuals with a high rupture risk at least once more during their lifetime is the most cost effective option.
Routine screening, they said, could cut the number of acute emergency operations to repair a ruptured aneurysm by nearly half and reduce the death rate substantially.