Screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysms reduces number of unscreened men by half


A screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), integrated into an electronic health record, dramatically reduced the number of unscreened at-risk men by more than 50% within 15 months, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

A recent press release reports that since 2005, the US Preventive Services Task Force and the American Heart Association have recommended screening in men aged 65 to 75 years with any history of smoking. Researchers examined the electronic health records of 68,164 men who met these initial screening criteria. The researchers created an alert in the electronic health record to signal providers that the patient should be screened for AAA, and then followed these men from March 2012 to June 2013. The alerts led to a system-wide reduction of unscreened patients from 51.74% to 20.26%.

“Because abdominal aortic aneurysms are generally asymptomatic before they burst, most of the patients who have a rupture didn’t even know that they had an aneurysm,” says Robert J Hye, study lead author and chief of vascular surgery, Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Centre. “That makes screening for AAA all the more vital and important.”