Result card

  • SOC5: How does participating in Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm Screening, and their important others, react and act upon the result of the screening?
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How does participating in Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm Screening, and their important others, react and act upon the result of the screening?

Authors: Lotte Groth Jensen, Claus Loevschall, Anne Lee

Internal reviewers: Felix Gurtner, Allessandra Lo Scalzo

The general experience from public screening programmes in Sweden, England and Ireland is that men invited for screening are very satisfied {Available as separate file fielname.extenson }.

Berterö et al. explored how the finding of an enlarged aorta (≥30 mm) influenced life situation after 1 year. Analysis of interviews with ten men identified three themes: i) feeling secure being under surveillence, ii) living as usual, but repressing thoughts iii) experiencing disillusionment due to potential negative outcomes. The men felt secure and trusted the healthcare system, but also felt they were being judged on lifestyle and lifestyle changes. While living as usual they were, in the back of their minds, aware of their enlarged aorta. Thoughts of having a defect and that something could suddenly happen came to their minds when doing things that could be seen as hazardous, such as carrying heavy loads. The men experiencing a growing aorta felt disillusioned since they did not expect that to happen and they worried about an eventual operation. There were feelings of being limited by further controls and conscientious in daily activities {1}.

In a qualitative study by Pettersson and Bergbom patients who had been operated on for an AAA 1 month before the interview expressed both gratitude and inability to come to terms with the discovery of a life-threatening condition. They expressed both a feeling of living on borrowed time and a sense of being granted a new lease on life. The frequent follow-up prior to operation had given rise to questions about what would happen if the AAA ruptured and to thoughts about death. Waiting for surgery was experienced as similar to waiting for a death sentence and being aware of AAA meant that any physical sign or symptoms were worrisome {24}.

Langenberg and Abholz explored the coping strategy among patients diagnosed with a small AAA. Interviews with 26 patients (no description of gender) showed that they were coping with the psychological burden of AAA in multiple ways including optimism, denial and self control. Coping was influenced by professional help, own age, time for diagnosis, size of aneurysm and previous experiences with diseases {25}.

In result card RC-SOC4 the psychological changes are assessed by QoL measurements.

Jensen L et al. Result Card SOC5 In: Jensen L et al. Social aspects In: Jefferson T, Vicari N, Frønsdal K [eds.]. Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm Screening [Core HTA], Agenzia nationale per i servizi sanitari regionali (, Italy; 2013. [cited 28 May 2023]. Available from: