Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of femoral and popliteal aneurysms in men and women who have abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) and to assess potential etiologic differences in patients with and without these lower extremity aneurysms.
Methods: We studied 313 consecutive patients with AAAs encountered from 1995 to 1998 who underwent prospective ultrasound scanning to detect the presence or absence of femoral and popliteal aneurysms. Patients with and without these extremity aneurysms were compared for differences in potential etiologic risk factors with each other and with a statewide population of patients with AAAs.
Results: A total of 51 femoral and popliteal aneurysms were encountered, all occurring in male patients. Among the 251 men with AAAs, the incidence of femoral or popliteal aneurysms was 14%, compared with 0% among the 62 women with AAAs (P <.01). A family history of aneurysmal disease was present in only one (3%) of the 36 men with these extremity arterial aneurysms, a significant finding (P <.01) when compared with the family history that was positive for aneurysmal disease in 14 women (23%). Peripheral arterial occlusive disease affected 14 (39%) of the 36 men with peripheral arterial aneurysms versus 20 (9%) of the 215 men without these aneurysms (P <.01). Most other etiologic variables studied proved not to be different among the various groups of patients examined.
Conclusion: The incidence of femoral and popliteal aneurysms in persons with AAAs appears higher than that noted previously. Femoral and popliteal aneurysmal disease preferentially affects men; however, the basis for this sex difference is unknown. Few common etiologic factors differed between men with and without these extremity aneurysms. Most femoral and popliteal artery aneurysms in this study were undetectable on physical examination, suggesting that ultrasound scanning is appropriate in the recognition of peripheral aneurysms among men with AAAs.