Higher Lifetime Risk of Aortic Abdominal Aneurysm for Smokers

A November 2016 Medscape article from University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, reports: “Smoking is a very strong risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). 15,000 middle age subjects were followed from 1987 to 2013. Over this extended period, 590 had suffered a ruptured or repaired AAA. Another 75 subjects showed scans with undetected AAA. Based on findings of this study, researchers concluded; one in 17 would go on to develop AAA, including 1 in 9 of current smokers and 1 in 12 of former smokers. Females had a much greater risk than males. Smoking produces a chronic inflammatory response on vessels that degrade elastin and collagen of the aortic wall.”

Health care providers should always inquire about whether a patient smokes, duration and quantity. This is very important for professions that use treatments requiring them to apply deep pressure or force to the abdominal area. Current ultrasound recommendations screening for AAA are recommended for smokers aged 65-75. Duration and quantity of smoking may provide factors that red flag a patient for earlier screening.