PREVALENCE, DOCUMENTATION AND FOLLOW-UP OF INCIDENTAL ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSMS IN MALTA

A.A. Alarayedh1,A.A. Mohamed2
1Salmaniya Medical Complex, Manama, Bahrain
2Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, Northampton, United Kingdom

Corresponding author: Ameer Adnan Alarayedh
Phone no. +973-36373812
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Abstract

Incidental abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are significant findings in terms of monitoring and surgical intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality. The prevalence of incidental AAAs and their management have not been extensively studied and no such study has been done in Malta. A stratified random sample of 420 imaging studies conducted between January and June 2014 at Mater Dei and Gozo General Hospitals was electronically screened for evidence of AAA. Medical records of patients with screen-positive reports were reviewed to determine whether the incidental AAA was documented, a follow-up study/treatment was planned, and whether it was communicated to the patient's family doctor through the discharge letter. There were six AAA-positive studies in the sample (1.4%). Three of these were incidental AAAs (0.73%). Patients with AAAs were elderly (mean age, 71.5 +/- 9.4 years) and 83.3% were male (N=5). The mean diameter of all AAAs in the sample was 5.2 +/- 2.6 cm, compared to a mean of 3.45 +/- 0.25 cm for the incidental AAAs. The incidental finding of AAA was documented in the medical notes of only 33.3%. There was no follow-up/treatment plan mentioned in two of the three (66.7%) newly diagnosed patients with AAAs. The finding of incidental AAA was communicated to the family physician through the discharge letter in 100% of inpatients, whereas no documentation was found for outpatients. The prevalence of incidental AAAs in Malta is significant and comparative to other international studies, however documentation and follow-up planning need improvement. Large-scale population-based studies are called for.

Keywords: prevalence, abdominal aortic aneurysm, Malta, incidental finding

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