Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm in 65-year-old men remains cost-effective with contemporary epidemiology and management

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2014 Apr;47(4):357-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2013.12.023. Epub 2014 Jan 31.


Objectives: The epidemiology and management of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) has changed significantly, with lower prevalence, increased longevity of patients, increased use of endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), and improved outcome. The clinical and health economic effectiveness of one-time screening of 65-year-old men was assessed within this context.

Methods: One-time ultrasound screening of 65-year-old men (invited) versus no screening (control) was analysed in a Markov model. Data on the natural course of AAA (risk of repair and rupture) was based on randomised controlled trials. Screening detected AAA prevalence (1.7%), surgical management (50% EVAR), repair outcome, costs, and long-term survival were based on contemporary population-based data. Incremental cost-efficiency ratios (ICER), absolute and relative risk reduction for death from AAA (ARR, RRR), numbers needed to screen (NNS), and life-years gained were calculated. Annual discounting was 3.5%.

Results: In base case at 13-years follow-up the ICER was €14,706 per incremental quality-adjusted life-year (QALY); ARR was 15.1 per 10,000 invited, NNS was 530, and QALYs gained were 56.5 per 10,000 invited. RRR was 42% (from 0.36% in control to 0.21% in invited). In a lifetime analysis the ICER of screening decreased to €7,570/QALY. The parameters with highest impact on the cost-efficiency of screening in the sensitivity analysis were the prevalence of AAA (threshold value <0.5%) and degree of incidental detection in the control cohort.

Conclusions: In the face of recent changes in the management and epidemiology of AAA, screening men for AAA remains cost-effective and delivers significant clinical impact.

Keywords: Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Cost-effectiveness; Mass screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / economics*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / epidemiology*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / mortality
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / surgery
  • Aortic Rupture / economics
  • Aortic Rupture / epidemiology
  • Aortic Rupture / mortality
  • Aortic Rupture / surgery*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Treatment Outcome