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Aneurysm screening programme 'to be highly effective'

The planned screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysms is set to be 'highly cost-effective', a new analysis has concluded.

The study came as the National Screening Committee prepared to finalise details of screening and submit recommendations to the Department of Health.

Researchers demonstrated the cost benefits of a one-off scan for men at 65 years, with annual and three-monthly follow-up for small and medium aneurysms.

It cost only £2,970 per quality-adjusted life-year gained, against a generally accepted threshold of £20-30,000.The additional annual cost to the UK is estimated at £19m, according to the report in the March issue of the Journal of Medical Screening.

Study leader Lois Kim, research associate at the MRC biostatistics unit, University of Cambridge, said: 'The long-term cost-effectiveness of screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms in men is highly attractive and this evidence provides further support for a national screening programme in the UK.'

Sir Muir Gray, director of the National Screening Committee, said the protocol for a national programme would be completed by June, and that screening 'looks as if it will do more good than harm at reasonable cost'.

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