A Novel Quality of Life Instrument for Patients with an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Bjoern D. Suckow*, Andres S. Schanzer, Andrew W. Hoel, Mark Wyers, Luke K. Marone, Ravi K. Veeraswamy, Brian W. Nolan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: The surveillance and treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) may impact patient quality of life (QOL). A novel AAA specific QOL instrument was developed and validated to quantify the impact of AAA surveillance on QOL. Methods: The study was performed in two phases: development (2011–2013) and validation (2013–2014) of a survey instrument. Content was informed by focus groups at three centres (22 patients) and two multidisciplinary physician focus groups (6 vascular surgeons, 7 primary care providers). Cognitive interviews (17 patients) ensured questions were understood as intended. The final survey was mailed to AAA patients at six US institutions. Patients were scored on two AAA specific domains of QOL: emotional impact (EIS) and behavioural change (BCS), range 0–100 with higher scores indicating worse quality of life. Test retest reliability and internal consistency were assessed. Discriminant validity was determined by comparing scores between patients under surveillance vs. those who had undergone AAA repair. Scores were externally validated by correlation with the Short Form (SF)-12. Results: A total of 1,008 (73%) of 1,373 patients returned surveys: 351 (35%) were under surveillance, 657 (65%) had undergone repair (endovascular, 414; open, 179; unsure, 64). Median EIS was 11 (range 0–95; IQR 7–26). Median BCS was 13 (range 0–100; IQR 9–47). To test reliability, 337 patients repeated the survey after four weeks with no significant differences between scores over time. EIS and BCS demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach's Alpha 0.85 and 0.75 respectively). There was strong correlation between scores (r = 0.53) and both related moderately to SF-12 scores (r = 0.45 and r = 0.39, respectively). Patients under AAA surveillance had worse EIS than repair patients (22 vs. 13; p <.001). Patients with a higher perceived rupture risk had a worse EIS (45 vs. 12; p <.001) and BCS (30 vs. 13; p <.001). Conclusions: An AAA specific QOL instrument was successfully created and validated. The range of impact on QOL by AAA surveillance is broad. For most patients the impact is minimal, but for some, especially those with a greater perceived rupture risk, it is severe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-815
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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