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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2010 Feb;39(2):208-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2009.11.004. Epub 2009 Nov 25.

Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm among patients referred to the vascular laboratory is cost-effective.

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Department of Surgical Sciences, Section of Vascular Surgery, Uppsala University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) in high-risk groups has been recommended based on a high prevalence of disease, while being questioned due to a high frequency of co-morbidities and inferior life-expectancy. We evaluated the long-term outcome and the cost-effectiveness of selective AAA screening among patients referred to the vascular laboratory for arterial examination.


A total of 5,924 patients, referred to the vascular laboratory of a university hospital, were screened for AAA with ultrasound (definition: slashed circle>or=30 mm), 1993-2005. Outcome data were gathered through hospital records and the national population registry. A Markov model was used for health-economic evaluation.


An AAA was detected in 181 patients (mean age 72.8 years), of whom 21.5% underwent elective repair (perioperative mortality 5.1%) after 7.5 years of follow-up. Four of six patients diagnosed with AAA rupture were operated upon. Relative 5-year survival compared with the general Swedish population, controlled for age and sex, was 80.4% (95% confidence interval (CI): 70.8-88.8). The cost-effectiveness was robust in base-case (11,084 Euro/life year gained) and in sensitivity analyses of prevalence, cost and survival.


Patients in whom AAA was detected at selective screening had inferior long-term survival and were operated on less frequently, compared with AAA patients described in previous studies. Yet, selective screening at the vascular laboratory was cost-effective.

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