Diabetes and abdominal aortic aneurysms

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2014 Mar;47(3):243-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2013.12.007. Epub 2014 Jan 18.


Epidemiologic evidence suggests that patients with diabetes may have a lower incidence of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA); however, the link between diabetes and AAA development and expansion is unclear. The aim of this review is to analyze updated evidence to better understand the impact of diabetes on prevalence, incidence, clinical outcome, and expansion rate of AAA. A systematic review of literature published in the last 20 years using the PubMed and Cochrane databases was undertaken. Studies reporting appropriate data were identified and a meta-analysis performed using the generic inverse variance method. Sixty-four studies were identified. Methodological quality was "fair" in 16 and "good" in 44 studies according to a formal assessment checklist (Newcastle-Ottawa). In 17 large population prevalence studies there was a significant inverse association between diabetes and AAA: pooled odds ratio (OR) 0.80; 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.70-0.90 (p = .0009). An inverse association was also confirmed by pooled analysis of data from smaller prevalence studies on selected populations (OR 0.59; 95% CI 0.35-0.99; p = .05), while no significant results were provided by case-control studies. A significant lower pooled incidence of new AAA in diabetics was found over six prospective studies: OR 0.54; 95% CI 0.31-0.91; p = .03. Diabetic patients showed increased operative (30-day/in-hospital) mortality after AAA repair: pooled OR 1.26; 95% CI 1.10-1.44; p = .0008. The increased operative risk was more evident in studies with 30-day assessment. In the long-term, diabetics showed lower survival rates at 2-5 years, while there was general evidence of lower growth rates of small AAA in patients with diabetes compared to non-diabetics. There is currently evidence to support an inverse relationship between diabetes and AAA development and enlargement, even though fair methodological quality or unclear risk of bias in many available studies decreases the strength of the finding. At the same time, operative and long-term survival is lower in diabetic patients, suggesting increased cardiovascular burden. The higher mortality in diabetics raises the question as to whether AAA repair should be individualized in selected diabetic populations at higher AAA rupture risk.

Keywords: Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Aneurysm growth; Aortic aneurysm development; Aortic aneurysm incidence; Aortic aneurysm prevalence; Diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / diagnosis
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / epidemiology*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / mortality
  • Aortic Rupture / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / mortality
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment