Expert Available: USPTF recommendations for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening should be expanded

A vascular surgeon recommends expanding screening to women and patients over the age of 75 years


Newswise — The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPTF) is currently in the process of finalizing recommendations on who should be screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) – a “ballooning” in the wall of the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the lower part of the body that often has no signs or symptoms and can burst, or rupture, without warning.

The current draft recommendation is a one-time ultrasound screening for AAA for men ages 65 to 75 who smoke or used to smoke, selective screening for non-smokers in the age group with other risk factors such as family history, but it is not recommended for other groups. Marc Schermerhorn, MD, Chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) recently authored a perspective piece in the journal Circulation on this topic, and is available for interview to discuss why he feels strongly the AAA screening recommendations should be expanded to include other groups.

According to Schermerhorn, screening should be expanded to two populations in particular: women with one risk factor and patients over the age of 75 years who are in good health. The cost of screening is low and those populations have sufficiently high prevalence of the disease.

“Although AAA is less common in the overall population of women, the prevalence in select subgroups such as smokers and those with heart disease is comparable to men,” says Shermerhorn. “Similarly, patients older than 75 years have the highest risk of aneurysm-related mortality, but are not eligible for screening under current guidelines, despite excellent life expectancy.”

Dr. Schermerhorn welcomes the opportunity to share more specifics around his expert perspective. Please contact Lindsey Diaz-MacInnis at ldiaz2@harvard.edu or 617-667-7372 to set up an interview.

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