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October 1990

Utility of Computed Tomography for Surveillance of Small Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms: Preliminary Report

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Vascular and Thoracic Surgery (Drs Dilley and Bernstein) and Radiology (Dr Thurston), Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, Calif. Dr Krupski is now with the Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco and Dr Bass is now with the Department of General and Vascular Surgery, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.

Arch Surg. 1990;125(10):1345-1350. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1990.01410220129018

• To assess the ability of computed tomography to predict the potential for expansion of small abdominal aortic aneurysms, we analyzed the computed tomographic scans of 30 patients who had two or more abdominal computed tomographic scans at least 6 months apart between 1979 and 1989. Clinical variables and 10 defined objective characteristics of computed tomography were evaluated. Twenty-five men and five women with abdominal aortic aneurysms ranging from 30 to 64 mm (mean, 45 mm) were followed up with serial computed tomographic scans for a mean (± SE) of 26 ± 3 months. In 19 patients, enlargement of aneurysm diameter of 3 mm or more on serial computed tomographic scans was noted, whereas in 11, there was little or no expansion. Of the clinical variables studied, only serum cholesterol correlated with an increased risk of expansion. Thrombus area, measured by computed tomography, was 7.3 ± 0.9 cm2 in enlarging aneurysms vs 4.3 ±0.9 cm2 in stable aneurysms. Based on these preliminary data, we conclude that computed tomography may provide valuable information about the likelihood of future expansion of small abdominal aortic aneurysms.

(Arch Surg. 1990;125:1345-1350)