Influence of sex on expansion rate of abdominal aortic aneurysms

Br J Surg. 2007 Mar;94(3):310-4. doi: 10.1002/bjs.5573.


Background: The UK Small Aneurysm Trial suggested that female sex is an independent risk factor for rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). This study assessed the effect of sex on the growth rate of AAA.

Methods: Between January 1985 and August 2005 all patients who were referred to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh with an AAA who were not considered for early aneurysm repair were assessed by serial abdominal ultrasonography. Maximum anteroposterior and transverse diameters of the AAAs were measured.

Results: A total of 1255 patients (824 men and 431 women) were followed up for a median of 30 (range 6-185) months. A median of six examinations (range 2-37) was performed for each patient. Median diameter on initial examination was 41 (range 25-83) mm. Median growth rate overall was 2.79 (range - 4.80-37.02) mm per year. Median growth rate of AAA was significantly greater in women than men (3.67 (range - 1.2-37.02) versus 2.03 (range - 4.80-21.00) mm per year; P < 0.01). Weighted linear regression analysis revealed that large initial anteroposterior AAA diameter and female sex were significant predictors of faster aneurysm growth rate (P < 0.001 and P = 0.006 respectively).

Conclusion: The growth rate of AAA was significantly greater in women than in men. This may have implications for the frequency of follow-up and timing of repair of AAA in women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / mortality
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / pathology*
  • Aortic Rupture / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Rupture / mortality
  • Aortic Rupture / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors*
  • Ultrasonography