In spite of increasing number of elective resections of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) the mortality or ruptured AAA is increasing. The advantages of elective operations are obvious; the lethality is 2-6% while the lethality of ruptured AAA is 75-95%. However, AAA seldom causes symptoms before rupture. Ultrasonographic screening for AAA takes 10 minutes per scan, and the sensitivity and specificity are high. Ultrasonographic screening for AAA is a reliable, safe and inexpensive method for screening, and screening for AAA is discussed worldwide. One point four percent of deaths among men from 65 to 80 year of age are caused by ruptured AAA. Screening men over 65 for AAA can theoretically prevent a substantial number of deaths. Our calculations predict one prevented AAA-death per 200-300 scans for a cost of about 4000 DKK per saved year of life. However, cost-benefit analyses are based on uncertain assumptions concerning prevalence, incidence and risk of rupture. Therefore a randomized trial screening of 65-73 year old males is taking place in the County of Viborg in Denmark.
Comment In: Ugeskr Laeger. 1997 Aug 18;159(34):5108-109297318