Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Vasc Surg. 2011 Aug;54(2):341-5, 345.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2010.12.069. Epub 2011 May 28.

Reproductive history in women with abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.



The prevalence of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) differs considerably between the sexes, illustrated by the male/female ratio 4-6:1. Women are also reported to have a higher risk of rupture, and a poorer outcome compared with men. The primary aim of this study was to investigate if women with AAA have a different reproductive history compared with other women. The secondary aim was to study if women with a larger AAA differ in their reproductive history from women with a smaller AAA.


This case-control study was performed in October 2009 and included 140 consecutively monitored women with AAA and 140 with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) at the Department of Vascular Surgery at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm. AAA was defined as AAA diameter >3 cm, and women with AAA were subdivided into groups with AAA diameter ≥5 cm and diameter <5 cm. A validated questionnaire was used to obtain information about participants' reproductive history and general health. The response rate was 70% (n = 196).


Women with AAA were smokers to a greater extent than women with PAD (previous, 52% vs 46%; current, 46% vs 34%, P = .001). Diabetes mellitus was more prevalent in women with PAD (28%) than in women with AAA (15%, P = .034). Angina pectoris occurred more often in women with AAA (26%) than in women with PAD (11%, P = .026). No significant difference was found between PAD and AAA women regarding statin use, treatment for hypertension, prior myocardial infarction, and body mass index (BMI). The 54 women with AAA ≥5 cm and the 44 women with AAA <5 cm were similar in age (76 vs 76 years, P = .908) and BMI (25.7 vs 24.0 kg/m(2), P = .66). No difference was noted in the occurrence of other risk factors between women with AAA ≥5 cm and women with AAA <5 cm. Mean age at menopause was lower in women with AAA ≥5 cm than in women with AAA <5 cm and in women with PAD (47.7 vs 49.9 vs 49.7 years, P = .011). Apart from menopausal age, the groups had a similar reproductive history, including hormone replacement therapy, parity, use of contraceptives, prior gynecological surgery, and breast cancer.


These findings suggest that women with larger AAA reach menopausal age earlier, and this could influence an earlier onset of aneurysmatic disease or an increase in aneurysm growth. The true role of endogenous estrogen in aneurysm development and expansion is yet to be investigated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center