Epidemiology of fatal ruptured aortic aneurysms in the United States (1999-2016)

Halah Abdulameer, Haider Al Taii, Sadeer G. Al-Kindi, Ross Milner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Ruptured aortic aneurysms (rAAs) are associated with high mortality. The purpose of this study was to describe the trends of deaths due to rAA in the United States. Methods: A retrospective review of the national death certificate data from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System was done to identify deaths due to rAAs in the United States between 1999 and 2016. Patients aged 15 years or older with rAA as the underlying cause of death as defined by International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision codes I71.1 (ruptured thoracic aortic aneurysm [rTAA]), I71.3 (ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm [rAAA]), I71.5 (ruptured thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm), and I71.8 (rAA of unspecified site) were included and standardized to U.S. Census data. Results: A total of 104,458 deaths due to rAAs occurred during the study period. The overall age-adjusted incidence of fatal rAA was 23.3 per 1 million (rAAA, 15.1; rTAA, 3.1; thoracoabdominal, 0.4; and unspecified site, 4.8). The annual incidence of rAA decreased by 68% from 40.0 (1999) to 12.8 (2016) per 1 million (rTAA by −67% from 5.5 to 1.8 and rAAA by −70% from 26.3 to 7.89 per 1 million; P <.001 for all comparisons). These trends were consistent across age groups, sexes, and races. There was a significant seasonal variation in rAA mortality, with higher deaths in winter months compared with summer months. The incidence of rAA is highest in Midwest states (27.1 per 1 million), followed by Northeast (23.8 per 1 million) and West (14 per 1 million) states, and lowest in Southern states (13.6 per 1 million). Only 57% of rAAA deaths occurred in men ≥65 years. Conclusions: The incidence of fatal rAA, rTAA, and rAAA drastically decreased in the United States between 1999 and 2016, a trend that was consistent across age groups, sexes, and races. A significant percentage of fatal rAAAs occurred in patients who are not eligible for the current screening program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-384.e2
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms
  • Ruptured aortic aneurysms
  • Ruptured thoracic aortic aneurysms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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