In-silico trials of targeted screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm using linked healthcare data
The University of Leicester research project has been funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and involves joining and analysing data from various parts of the NHS.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a swelling of the main blood vessel in the body, the aorta. If an AAA gets too large it can burst (rupture) and cause fatal internal bleeding. The NHS offers AAA screening to men from the age of 65.
In 2010, 1.50% of men screened by the NHS had an AAA. This fell to 0.97% in 2019. As AAAs become less common, AAA screening costs more per person found to have an AAA. Eventually the NHS will not be able to justify spending money on AAA screening.
An alternative, more cost-effective approach is to only invite men for AAA screening if they are at high risk of having an AAA. It is not known if this approach misses many men with AAAs in the group who are not offered screening.
In this research we will analyse results from the NHS AAA Screening Programme from 2013-2022. General practice records will be obtained for men invited for screening. We will work out what would have happened if only men with risk factors for AAA had been invited for screening. We will also see if there are other details in general practice records that could be used to invite men for AAA screening in a more efficient way. We will see if AAA screening can be targeted at groups of men who are at a high risk and, if so, whether such a targeted screening programme will still find the majority of men with AAAs.