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USPSTF issues abdominal aortic aneurysm advice

June 24, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Your male residents aged 65 to 75 years who smoke and do not have any symptoms of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) should undergo a one-time ultrasound screening for AAA, advises the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in a just-issued final recommendation statement. The advice also applies to men who have smoked 100 or more cigarettes in the past.

AAA develops as a bulge or ballooning in the wall of the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the abdomen. “Older male smokers are at the highest risk of developing AAA,” says USPSTF co-vice chair Albert Siu, MD, MSPH. “The good news is that, if you are a 65- to 75-year-old man who smokes or used to smoke, one-time AAA screening with an ultrasound, along with appropriate treatment, can reduce your risk of dying from rupture.”

The task force’s recommendation also states:

  • A one-time screening for men aged of 65 to 75 who have never smoked may be appropriate based on the person’s health history and the potential benefits and harms of screening.
  • More research is needed to determine whether AAA screening is beneficial for women aged 65 to 75 years who have a history of smoking. Due to this lack of evidence, the task force concluded that it could not recommend for or against screening older women who smoke.

The task force’s final recommendation statement has been published online in Annals of Internal Medicine as well as on the task force website.

The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that has a goal of improving the health of Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medications.

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