The hand-held ultrasound is useful in screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm

The hand-held ultrasound could be a useful and effective tool for the screening of abdominal aortic aneurysm in primary care, according to a study led by Dr. Antoni Sisó-Almirall, research director of the Consortium for Primary Health Care of Eixample (CAPSE) and responsible of the IDIBAPS Transversal Group in Primary Care Research. The results of the study, published in the journal Medicina Clínica, confirm that using this technique the correlation for this disease between the family doctor with a specific training and the radiologist was 100 percent.

For this study investigators analyzed data from 106 over 50 years patients with risk factors such as chronic hypertension, smoking and being former smokers who attended the primary center for any condition. The aim was to detect cases of abdominal aortic aneurysm and abdominal aortic atheromatosis, although this second disease showed a moderate correlation between the primary care physician and the radiologist. It was found that the incidence of abdominal aortic aneurysm ranges from 4 to 7 percent in men, while the frequency of this disease in women is much lower, with a ratio of 8-1.

One of the novelties of this work is the inclusion of younger patients in the screening program in relation to the parameters that are used in other countries, where only patients over 65 years are usually included. A new study by the same research group, yet unpublished, is retrospectively analyzing data from 28 000 men and women over 60 years visited by three primary care teams. Preliminary results suggest that if screening is done in patients over 65 years, one in four cases is missed. Another advantage of performing the test sooner is the fact that it could gain more life years for patients.

Sisó-Almirall A, Gilabert Solé R, Bru Saumell C, Kostov B, Mas Heredia M, González-de Paz L, Sebastián Montal L, Benavent Àreu J. [Feasibility of hand-held-ultrasonography in the screening of abdominal aortic aneurysm and abdominal aortic atherosclerosis.] Med Clin (Barc). 2013 Jun 19. pii: S0025-7753(13)00320-5. doi: 10.1016/j.medcli.2013.02.038. [Epub ahead of print] [Article in Spanish]
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