Summaries for Patients |

Cardiovascular Disease and Death in Older Adults with Small Aneurysm in the Abdominal Aorta FREE

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

The summary below is from the full report titled “Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality in Older Adults with Small Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Detected by Ultrasonography: The Cardiovascular Health Study.” It is in the 6 February 2001 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 134, pages 182-190). The authors are AB Newman, AM Arnold, GL Burke, DH O'Leary, and TA Manolio.

Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(3):S75. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-134-3-200102060-00004
Text Size: A A A

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

The aorta, a large artery in the chest and the abdomen, is the main channel for carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are bulges that occur in weakened sections of the abdominal aorta. Aneurysms are more common in people with high blood pressure. Large aneurysms can burst, which often causes death. For this reason, it is generally recommended that patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms larger than about 2 inches across (5 cm) undergo an operation to replace the weakened section of the aorta. It is unknown whether people with small aneurysms are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease (such as heart attacks and strokes) and dying than are people without aneurysms.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To compare cardiovascular disease events and deaths in persons with and without small abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Who was studied?

The study included 4734 men and women older than 65 years of age who were recruited from lists of persons eligible for Medicare.

How was the study done?

The researchers performed an ultrasound test on all study participants. This test uses sound waves to create a picture of the aorta and is a good way to look for aneurysms. An aneurysm was defined as a bulge in the aorta that was at least 3 cm (slightly more than 1 inch) across. The researchers then followed participants for 4 and a half years to see who developed cardiovascular disease, required surgery to repair the aneurysm, had a burst aneurysm, or died.

What did the researchers find?

Of the 4734 study participants, 416 (8.8%) had an abdominal aortic aneurysm. More than 87% of these aneurysms were smaller than 3.5 cm across. Men, smokers, and people who were older or had known cardiovascular disease were most likely to have aneurysms. Twenty-three people (all of whom had aneurysms larger than 5 cm) required surgery for aneurysm repair, and six people died of burst aneurysms. Even after accounting for cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking and abnormal cholesterol levels, persons with aneurysms were 40% more likely than those without aneurysms to develop cardiovascular events or die.

What were the limitations of the study?

The study could not determine whether screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms would decrease cardiovascular events and death or whether repair of small aneurysms would improve patients' outcomes.

What are the implications of the study?

Because persons with small abdominal aortic aneurysms appear to be at a higher risk for developing new cardiovascular disease or death, doctors should make extra efforts to advise these persons to modify risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol levels.





Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Submit a Comment/Letter
Submit a Comment/Letter

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.


Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Related Articles
Related Point of Care
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.