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An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is typically defined as aortic enlargement with a diameter of 3.0 cm or larger. The prevalence of AAA has declined over the past 2 decades among screened men 65 years or older in various European countries. The current prevalence of AAA in the United States is unclear because of the low uptake of screening. Most AAAs are asymptomatic until they rupture. Although the risk for rupture varies greatly by aneurysm size, the associated risk for death with rupture is as high as 81%.
To update its 2014 recommendation, the USPSTF commissioned a review of the evidence on the effectiveness of 1-time and repeated screening for AAA, the associated harms of screening, and the benefits and harms of available treatments for small AAAs (3.0-5.4 cm in diameter) identified through screening.
This recommendation applies to asymptomatic adults 50 years or older. However, the randomized trial evidence focuses almost entirely on men aged 65 to 75 years.
Based on a review of the evidence, the USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that screening for AAA in men aged 65 to 75 years who have ever smoked is of moderate net benefit. The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that screening for AAA in men aged 65 to 75 years who have never smoked is of small net benefit. The USPSTF concludes that the evidence is insufficient to determine the net benefit of screening for AAA in women aged 65 to 75 years who have ever smoked or have a family history of AAA. The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that the harms of screening for AAA in women aged 65 to 75 years who have never smoked and have no family history of AAA outweigh the benefits.
The USPSTF recommends 1-time screening for AAA with ultrasonography in men aged 65 to 75 years who have ever smoked. (B recommendation) The USPSTF recommends that clinicians selectively offer screening for AAA with ultrasonography in men aged 65 to 75 years who have never smoked rather than routinely screening all men in this group. (C recommendation) The USPSTF recommends against routine screening for AAA with ultrasonography in women who have never smoked and have no family history of AAA. (D recommendation) The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for AAA with ultrasonography in women aged 65 to 75 years who have ever smoked or have a family history of AAA. (I statement)
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Corresponding Author: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, Stanford University, 615 Crothers Way, Encina Commons, Mail Code 6019, Stanford, CA 94305-6006 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for Publication: October 30, 2019.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS; Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc; Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH; Michael J. Barry, MD; Michael Cabana, MD, MA, MPH; Aaron B. Caughey, MD, PhD; Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, MPH; John W. Epling Jr, MD, MSEd; Martha Kubik, PhD, RN; C. Seth Landefeld, MD; Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH; Lori Pbert, PhD; Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH; Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH; Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSEE; John B. Wong, MD.
Affiliations of The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California (Owens); Stanford University, Stanford, California (Owens); Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Northwell Health, Manhasset, New York (Davidson); Fairfax Family Practice Residency, Fairfax, Virginia (Krist); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Krist); Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Barry); University of California, San Francisco (Cabana); Oregon Health & Science University, Portland (Caughey); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (Doubeni); Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke (Epling Jr); Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Kubik); University of Alabama at Birmingham (Landefeld); University of California, Los Angeles (Mangione); University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Pbert); Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Silverstein); Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (Simon); University of Hawaii, Honolulu (Tseng); Pacific Health Research and Education Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii (Tseng); Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts (Wong).
Author Contributions: Dr Owens had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The USPSTF members contributed equally to the recommendation statement.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Authors followed the policy regarding conflicts of interest described at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/conflict-of-interest-disclosures. All members of the USPSTF receive travel reimbursement and an honorarium for participating in USPSTF meetings. Dr Barry reported receiving grants and personal fees from Healthwise, a nonprofit, outside the submitted work. No other disclosures were reported.
Funding/Support: The USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body. The US Congress mandates that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) support the operations of the USPSTF.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: AHRQ staff assisted in the following: development and review of the research plan, commission of the systematic evidence review from an Evidence-based Practice Center, coordination of expert review and public comment of the draft evidence report and draft recommendation statement, and the writing and preparation of the final recommendation statement and its submission for publication. AHRQ staff had no role in the approval of the final recommendation statement or the decision to submit for publication.
Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the US government. They should not be construed as an official position of AHRQ or the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Additional Contributions: We thank Iris Mabry-Hernandez, MD, MPH (AHRQ), who contributed to the writing of the manuscript, and Lisa Nicolella, MA (AHRQ), who assisted with coordination and editing.
Additional Information: The USPSTF makes recommendations about the effectiveness of specific preventive care services for patients without obvious related signs or symptoms. It bases its recommendations on the evidence of both the benefits and harms of the service and an assessment of the balance. The USPSTF does not consider the costs of providing a service in this assessment. The USPSTF recognizes that clinical decisions involve more considerations than evidence alone. Clinicians should understand the evidence but individualize decision-making to the specific patient or situation. Similarly, the USPSTF notes that policy and coverage decisions involve considerations in addition to the evidence of clinical benefits and harms.
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