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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 1996 Feb;11(2):183-90.

Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm: a computer assisted cost-utility analysis.

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School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, University of Manchester, UK.



To evaluate the effects of introducing routine ultrasonic screening for the identification and elective surgical treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) at high risk of rupture in the U.K. population of men aged 65-74 years.


A computer assisted simulation of an AAA screening programme. The simulation incorporated assumptions gleaned from the literature about the epidemiology of AAA and the costs of screening. In addition, up-to-date costings based on recent Manchester (U.K.) vascular surgery experience are used.


A dialogue between National Health Service commissioners and providers to explore the feasibility and desirability of introducing AAA screening. CHIEF OUTCOME MEASURE: Cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained.


The absolute cost (circa 1992/3) per QALY gained from screening for and treating aneurysms of > or = 6 cm in diameter of pounds 1500 (benefit not discounted). Offsetting current treatment costs of ruptured aneurysms gives a net additional cost per QALY of pounds 1300. Screening and treating aneurysms of > or = 5 cm leads to a cost per QALY gained exceeding pounds 20000. The findings are robust under sensitivity analysis.


Routine screening for AAAs of size > or = 6 cm compares favourably in terms of cost per QALY gained with services such as breast and cervical cancer screening.

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