Findings Mixed on Aneurysm Screening Cost Effectiveness

Abdominal aortic aneurysm screenings prevent deaths, but costs may not outweigh benefits

FRIDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Screening men for abdominal aortic aneurysm prevents deaths and is a cost-effective measure, according to a study published online June 24 in BMJ, but a second study argues that the benefits do not appear to justify the costs.

Simon G. Thompson, of the Institute of Public Health in Cambridge, U.K., and colleagues conducted a randomized trial of 67,770 men, aged 65 to 74 years, who were either screened by ultrasound or not screened and followed up for 10 years. They found that the mortality benefit remained after 10 years and that the cost effectiveness of the screening program increased over time.

In the second study, Lars Ehlers, Ph.D., of Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a cost-effectiveness study of a hypothetical population of 65-year-old men invited or not invited for ultrasound screening, and found that the odds of such a screening program being cost effective were less than 30 percent. In an accompanying editorial, Martin J. Buxton, Ph.D., of Brunel University in Uxbridge, U.K., notes that without detailed exploration of the models used, it is difficult to know why the two studies had differing findings.

"The accumulated evidence suggests that a national screening program in the U.K. is appropriate and likely to be cost effective, but its costs and outcomes need to be carefully monitored and the data need to be regularly re-analyzed to ensure that both the effectiveness and cost effectiveness remain acceptable in the context of changing practice," Buxton concludes.

Buxton was a co-investigator on the Multicenter Aneurysm Screening Study (MASS) trial and lead author of the original MASS cost-effectiveness paper.

Abstract - Thompson
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Abstract - Ehlers
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