Few countries offer organized screening of siblings of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), although a hereditary trait is well known to exist. Male relatives, but not female, are invited within the population-based screening programs for elderly men in Sweden. Evidence regarding the optimal age to screen siblings is scarce. The aim of this study was to describe the age at detection in siblings found with AAAs.
All patients treated for AAAs in two Swedish counties were screened for siblings. Consenting siblings aged 80 and younger were examined (N = 529) with ultrasound and were interviewed per protocol.
In the cohort of 529 siblings to AAA patients, 53 siblings were diagnosed with AAAs (sisters 16/276 [5.8%] and brothers 37/253 [14.6%]). The prevalence of AAAs in the siblings 65 years of age or younger was 16/207 (7.7%). One-third of the siblings found with AAAs were young (16/53 [30%]). Among the young siblings with AAAs, 8/16 (50%) had an aneurysm larger than 50 mm or were already surgically treated. The prevalence of AAAs in siblings older than 65 years of age was 37/322 (12%).
The AAA prevalence in this sibling cohort is strikingly high compared to the prevalence in the population (in Sweden, 1.4%-2.2% in 65-year-old men). The young ages among diagnosed siblings reinforce that male siblings of AAA patients should be screened before age 65 (before the population-based program) and that structured programs for female siblings are called for.
To evaluate if ticagrelor, an effective platelet inhibitor without known non-responders, could inhibit growth of small abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs).
In this multi-centre randomized controlled trial, double-blinded for ticagrelor and placebo, acetylic salicylic acid naïve patients with AAA and with a maximum aortic diameter 35-49?mm were included. The primary outcome was mean reduction in log-transformed AAA volume growth rate (%) measured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 12?months compared with baseline. Secondary outcomes include AAA-diameter growth rate and intraluminal thrombus (ILT) volume enlargement rate. A total of 144 patients from eight Swedish centres were randomized (72 in each group). MRI AAA volume increase was 9.1% for the ticagrelor group and 7.5% for the placebo group (P?=?0.205) based on intention-to-treat analysis, and 8.5% vs. 7.4% in a per-protocol analysis (P?=?0.372). MRI diameter change was 2.5?mm vs. 1.8?mm (P?=?0.113), US diameter change 2.3?mm vs. 2.2?mm (P?=?0.778), and ILT volume change 12.9% vs. 10.4% (P?=?0.590).
In this RCT, platelet inhibition with ticagrelor did not reduce growth of small AAAs. Whether the ILT has an important pathophysiological role for AAA growth cannot be determined based on this study due to the observed lack of thrombus modulating effect of ticagrelor.
The TicAAA trial is registered at the US National Institutes of Health (ClinicalTrials.gov) #NCT02070653.
Population-based screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) in elderly men is organized in many regions and countries in the Western world, and the prevalence of disease is reported to decline. Whether the prevalence among those with a family history also is declining is unknown. The primary purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of AAAs among siblings of persons with AAAs and to investigate the proportion of siblings already diagnosed by opportunistic screening.
Patients treated for AAAs from January 2008 through December 2010 (n = 412) in Stockholm, Sweden, were screened for siblings. Seven hundred seventy-nine siblings were identified. All siblings 65 (odds ratio, 10.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-86.4; P = .03). Ever smoking was not statistically significant as a risk.
A strikingly high prevalence of AAAs in siblings was found as compared to the reported declining aneurysm prevalence in elderly men in the Western world. Systematic improvements regarding screening of first-degree relatives is mandated and selective screening of siblings is an underused tool to prevent death from aneurysm disease, both among men and women.
In a recent publication in The Lancet Johansson and colleagues claim no effect on aneurysm mortality among men participating in the Swedish AAA screening program, and question its justification. The study is, however, limited by a corrupt study design and incorrect data, making the publication misleading. On the contrary, several RCTs and contemporary nationwide data with sufficient follow-up clearly show that AAA screening saves lives and is highly cost-effective. The program has so far identified about 6000 men with an AAA, of whom 1500 have been operated on to prevent rupture. Thus, more than 750 men have experienced a longer life (by a mean of 8 years) as a result of the program. Continuous evaluation of the program is important but requires a scientifically sound methodology.
CommentOn: Lancet. 2018 Jun 16;391(10138):2441-2447 PMID 29916384
The prevalence of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is higher for First Degree Relatives to AAA-patients compared to the general population, regardless of sex. The prevalence of AAA is also higher in the North of Sweden compared to the Mid and South. A regional strong hereditary trait has been suggested as an explanation to this. The aim of this study was to investigate if siblings to AAA-patients in the North have a higher prevalence of AAA compared to siblings in the Mid-region.
All patients treated for AAA in a northern region (Norrbotten county, North) were screened for siblings. Consenting siblings, age 40-80, were examined (n?=?379) with ultrasound. The results were compared to the previously published results of 150 ultrasound-screened siblings in the Mid-region (Stockholm county).
The male/female ratio in the sibling cohort was 48% vs 52%. The prevalence of AAA in siblings in the North was 37/379 (brothers 14%, sisters 6%). This was not different from the prevalence among the Mid-region siblings 16/150 (brothers 17%, sisters 6% (p?=?0.75). The distribution of risk factors was similar in the two regions.
The results reinforce the importance of a more systematic approach towards selective screening of all siblings to AAA patients. Ultrasound should be performed in all eligible siblings, since the distribution of AAA is similar over regions. A correlation between the familial distribution and the reported high prevalence of AAA in general population in the North could not be shown.