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Derivation and Validation of a 10-Year Risk Score for Symptomatic Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Cohort Study of Nearly 500 000 Individuals

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Claire WelshORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.Background: Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) can occur in patients who are ineligible for routine ultrasound screening. A simple AAA risk score was derived and compared with current guidelines used for ultrasound screening of AAA. Methods: United Kingdom Biobank participants without previous AAA were split into a derivation cohort (n=401 820, 54.6% women, mean age 56.4 years, 95.5% White race) and validation cohort (n=83 816). Incident AAA was defined as first hospital inpatient diagnosis of AAA, death from AAA, or an AAA-related surgical procedure. A multivariable Cox model was developed in the derivation cohort into an AAA risk score that did not require blood biomarkers. To illustrate the sensitivity and specificity of the risk score for AAA, a theoretical threshold to refer patients for ultrasound at 0.25% 10-year risk was modeled. Discrimination of the risk score was compared with a model of US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) AAA screening guidelines. Results: In the derivation cohort, there were 1570 (0.40%) cases of AAA over a median 11.3 years of follow-up. Components of the AAA risk score were age (stratified by smoking status), weight (stratified by smoking status), antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering medication use, height, diastolic blood pressure, baseline cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. In the validation cohort, over 10 years of follow-up, the C-index for the model of the USPSTF guidelines was 0.705 (95% CI, 0.678-0.733). The C-index of the risk score as a continuous variable was 0.856 (95% CI, 0.837-0.878). In the validation cohort, the USPSTF model yielded sensitivity 63.9% and specificity 71.3%. At the 0.25% 10-year risk threshold, the risk score yielded sensitivity 82.1% and specificity 70.7% while also improving the net reclassification index compared with the USPSTF model +0.176 (95% CI, 0.120-0.232). A combined model, whereby risk scoring was combined with the USPSTF model, also improved prediction compared with USPSTF alone (net reclassification index +0.101 [95% CI, 0.055-0.147]). Conclusions: In an asymptomatic general population, a risk score based on patient age, height, weight, and medical history may improve identification of asymptomatic patients at risk for clinical events from AAA. Further development and validation of risk scores to detect asymptomatic AAA are needed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Welsh P, Welsh CE, Jhund PS, Woodward M, Brown R, Lewsey J, Celis-Morales CA, Ho FK, Mackay DF, Gill JMR, Gray SR, Katikireddi SV, Pell JP, Forbes J, Sattar N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Circulation

Year: 2021

Volume: 144

Issue: 8

Pages: 604-614

Print publication date: 24/08/2021

Online publication date: 25/06/2021

Acceptance date: 09/06/2021

Date deposited: 13/09/2021

ISSN (print): 0009-7322

ISSN (electronic): 1524-4539

Publisher: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins


DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.053022

PubMed id: 34167317


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