Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
William R Colyer, Christopher J Cooper

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    Abdominal aortic aneurysms often grow slowly and are usually asymptomatic. AAA is usually detected incidentally during a scan performed for another reason.

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    Abdominal aortic aneurysms often grow slowly and are usually asymptomatic. AAA is usually detected incidentally during a scan performed for another reason.

    Screening studies in the UK have estimated a prevalence of 1.3–12.7%, depending on the age group. AAAs occur most frequently in men over the age of 65, among whom there are around 3,000 deaths each year in England and Wales due to rupture, accounting for around 1.7% of all deaths in men aged 65 and over.

    Management of an AAA depends primarily on its size. Small and medium aneurysms (aortal diameters of 3–4.4 cm and 4.5–5.4 cm) are managed conservatively. When the aorta reaches a diameter of 5.5 cm (large aneurysm), a person is referred to a vascular surgeon.

    Progressive aneurysm enlargement can lead to rupture and massive internal bleeding, which is fatal unless timely repair can be achieved. Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), a minimally invasive technique, has been shown to reduce early morbidity and mortality as compared to conventional open AAA repair.

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