New screening guidelines boosts detection of aortic aneurysm

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) can rupture, leading to emergency surgery with mortality rates nearing 90 percent. Making things more difficult for physicians, these enlargements can be difficult to diagnose, handcuffing clinical research’s ability to combat the 13,000 annual deaths in the United States.

Ultrasound has been an effective method of detecting AAA, but deciding which patients would benefit from the screening involves multiple variables. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommending its use on select populations in 2005, before updating those guidelines in 2014.

New research published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology examined whether the updated USPSTF guidelines have affected AAA ultrasound screenings in terms of volume and patient diversity. The team—led by Evan Zucker, MD, clinical assistant professor of radiology at Stanford University—also investigated differences in detection rates and size of aneurysms at diagnosis.

“As AAA screening continues to garner support, radiologists can assist in ferreting out inappropriate examinations while guiding referring physicians/providers on appropriate follow-up and management for newly detected AAAs and a broad spectrum of incidental findings,” Zucker and colleagues wrote.

Read the full story at