Purpose: To assess the effects of age, gender, race, and body size on infrarenal aortic diameter (IAD) and to determine expected values for IAD on the basis of these factors.
Methods: Veterans aged 50 to 79 years at 15 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers were invited to undergo ultrasound measurement of IAD and complete a pre-screening questionnaire. We report here on 69,905 subjects who had no previous history of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and no ultrasound evidence of AAA (defined as IAD > or = 3.0 cm).
Results: Although age, gender, black race, height, weight, body mass index, and body surface area were associated with IAD by multivariate linear regression (all p < 0.001), the effects were small. Female sex was associated with a 0.14 cm reduction in IAD and black race with a 0.01 cm increase in IAD. A 0.1 cm change in IAD was associated with large changes in the independent variables: 29 years in age, 19 cm or 40 cm in height, 35 kg in weight, 11 kg/m2 in body mass index, and 0.35 m2 in body surface area. Nearly all height-weight groups were within 0.1 cm of the gender means, and the unadjusted gender means differed by only 0.23 cm. The variation among medical centers had more influence on IAD than did the combination of age, gender, race, and body size.
Conclusions: Age, gender, race, and body size have statistically significant but small effects on IAD. Use of these parameters to define AAA may not offer sufficient advantage over simpler definitions (such as an IAD > or = 3.0 cm) to be warranted.