Objective: A more accurate means of prediction of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture would improve the clinical and cost effectiveness of prophylactic repair. The purpose of this study was to determine whether AAA wall distensibility can be used to predict time to rupture independently of other recognized risk factors.
Methods. A prospective, six-center study of 210 patients with AAA in whom blood pressure (BP), maximum AAA diameter (Dmax), and AAA distensibility (pressure strain elastic modulus [Ep] and stiffness [beta]) were measured at 6 months with an ultrasound scan-based echo-tracking technique. A stepwise, time-dependent, Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine the effect on time to rupture of age, gender, BP, Dmax, BP, Ep, beta, and change in Dmax, Ep, and beta adjusted for time between follow-up visits.
Results: Median (interquartile range) AAA diameter was 48 mm (41 to 54 mm), median age was 72 years (68 to 77 years), and median follow-up period was 19 months (9 to 30 months). In the Cox model, female gender (hazards ratio [HR], 2.78; 95% CI, 1.23 to 6.28; P = .014), larger Dmax (HR, 1.36 for 10% increase in Dmax; 95% CI, 1.12 to 1.66; P = .002), higher diastolic BP (HP, 1.13 for 10% increase in BP; 95% CI, 1.13 to 1.92; P = .004), and a decrease in Ep (increase in distensibility) over time (HR, 1.38 for 10% decrease in Ep over 6 months; 95% CI, 1.08 to 1.78; P = .010) significantly reduced the time to rupture (had a shorter time to rupture).
Conclusion: Women have a shorter time to AAA rupture. The measurement of AAA distensibility, diastolic BP, and diameter may provide a more accurate assessment of rupture risk than diameter alone.