Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm: is opportunistic detection a realistic alternative?

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 1998 Jun;15(6):532-4. doi: 10.1016/s1078-5884(98)80115-9.


Objectives: To determine whether abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) may be detected during investigation for concurrent disease and to assess whether opportunistic detection is a feasible alternative to a formal screening programme.

Design: A prospective review of previous investigations in subjects attending for aortic screening.

Materials and methods: 276 men aged 65-80 attended the Chichester AAA screening programme. They were asked whether they had consulted their General Practitioner and whether they had undergone radiological investigation within the preceding 5 years.

Results: Two-hundred and sixty-one subjects had consulted their General Practitioner (94.6%) within the past 5 years. Fifty-six patients had been investigated with radiological imaging: in 22 cases (8.0%) the investigation had the potential to detect an AAA. The opportunistic detection rate was 0.4% (one AAA) in comparison to 12.0% for the screening programme (33 AAA). Imaging investigations with the potential to pick up AAA failed to detect five out of six aneurysms in this group.

Conclusions: Opportunistic screening for AAA is not a realistic alternative to a formal screening programme but may improve the detection rate in the community.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / prevention & control*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Family Practice
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Ultrasonography