BACKGROUND: Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is commonly restricted to men. Recent studies have indicated a possible increase in deaths due to ruptured AAA in women, and a higher rate of rupture in women than in men. The present report details results from a randomized controlled trial that assessed the effects of screening women for AAA. METHODS: Some 9342 women aged 65-80 years were entered into the trial and randomized to age-matched screen and control groups. A single ultrasonographic scan was offered to women in the screening arm of the study. Women with an AAA received follow-up scans, and were considered for elective surgery if certain criteria were met. RESULTS: The prevalence of AAA was six times lower in women (1.3 per cent) than in men (7.6 per cent). Over 5- and 10-year follow-up intervals, the incidence of rupture was the same in the screened and control groups of women. CONCLUSION: Screening women for AAA is neither clinically indicated nor economically viable.
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