Incidental Cardiovascular Abnormalities in the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Surveillance Population During the AAA Get Fit Trial: A Case Series and Review of the Literature

Flaherty D. J.;  Haque A.; Vascular Surgery, University of Manchester, Manchester, GBR.

Cureus 2023 Vol. 15 Issue 11 Pages e48271

Background The prevalence of cardiovascular disease and incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) is very high among the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) surveillance population. Formal assessments of and interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk are not a routine part of the surveillance programme at present. However, its potential importance is highlighted by incidental findings during the AAA Get Fit Trial, a randomised controlled trial which included baseline cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). We speculate that CPET can act as an opportunistic screening programme to identify cardiovascular disease in AAA surveillance patients.
Methods The AAA Get Fit Trial was a prospective, randomised controlled trial at a tertiary vascular centre, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, conducted between November 2017 and August 2019. Patients underwent CPET at baseline, 8, 16, 24 and 36 weeks as well as clinical history and examination and blood tests. We report on incidental cardiovascular abnormalities diagnosed during the trial.
Results Of the 59 participants in the trial, four (6.8%) were identified to have abnormal findings suggestive of unstable cardiovascular disease. On subsequent further investigation, two patients were diagnosed and treated for severe coronary artery disease after abnormal ECG findings were noted during CPET. One patient was diagnosed with unstable angina after obtaining a detailed history on baseline assessment which was treated medically before going on to have a successful elective AAA repair. Conclusions There is a high incidence of MACEs among this high-risk population both pre and perioperatively. Identifying and treating cardiovascular disease among t