Letters

Screening for aortic aneurysm

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7383.284 (Published 01 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:284

Human cost should not be dismissed

  1. Simon Curtis (simon.curtis@gp-K84011.nhs.uk), general practitioner
  1. Summertown Health Centre, Oxford OX2 7BS
  2. York District Hospital, York YO31 8HE

    EDITOR—Greenhalgh and Powell's editorial assesses the economic evaluation of the multicentre aneurysm screening study (MASS), but it masks with numbers a human tragedy at the core of the story: this is a screening study that killed people. 1 2

    The authors mention in passing a mortality of 6% among the 322 men who had surgery as a result of the invitation to screening. This figure represents 19 men, comparatively young at retirement age, who before receiving the invitation would have been living their lives unfettered by the knowledge that they had an aneurysm. Now they are dead.

    Obviously some of these men might have died anyway from a sudden …

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