Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms in men

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 06 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1122

Preventable deaths must be prevented!

Dear Sir:

There are, as far as I know, three types of prevention; universal,
selective and finally indicated. The main focus of prevention programmes
is first to identify risk factors for diseases development, early
identification of diseases, and then to intervene properly. Consequently,
the preventive programmes lead to substantially decreased morbidity and
mortality in a cost-effective way.

Both an influential study by Earnshaw et al [1] and an accompanied
editorial by Roger [2] support the implementation of national screening
programme for the early diagnosis of abdominal aortic aneurysm
particularly in men of age of 60 and above. We as medical colleagues
support their suggestions related to this screening programme based on
unequivocal findings of many research also conducted worldwide.

It is well documented that the process of atherosclerosis is silent
but dynamic and there are already identified risk factors for its
development most commonly in men with unfavourable life styles such as
smoking, sedentary habits, use of fatty meals, hyperlipaedemia, morbid
obesity, and most importantly revealed genetic propensity.

Atherosclerosis has special but worrying relationships with
hypertension, coronary artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and
probably aneuryms elsewhere in the body. All these atherosclerosis-related
diseases more often result in catastrophic events, i.e., myocardial
infaction, stroke, leak/rupture of aorta, and all have very high mortality
rate if relevant emergency services are delayed. The associated high
mortality rate can be reduced considerably by early screening and proper,
timely intervention as revealed by this study [1] and therefore national
screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm must have green signal
from relevant deciding authorities in the UK.

J J Earnshaw, E Shaw, M R Whyman, K R Poskitt, and B P Heather.
Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms in men
BMJ 2004; 328: 1122-1124.

Roger M Greenhalgh.National screening programme for aortic aneurysm.
BMJ 2004 328: 1087-1088.

Competing interests:
Pro-death prevention

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 May 2004
Dr.Naseem A. Qureshi MD, IMAPA, LMIPS
Medical Director(A), Director CME&R
Buraidah Mental Health Hospital, Postcode:2292, Saudi Arabia