Evaluation of a mobile screening service for abdominal aortic aneurysm in Broken Hill, a remote regional centre in far western NSW


Margaret S. Lesjak, Greater Western Area Health Service and Broken Hill Centre for Remote Health Research, University of Sydney, PO Box 457, Broken Hill, New South Wales, 2880, Australia. Email: mlesjak@gwahs.health.nsw.gov.au


Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility of a mobile screening service model for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) in a remote population centre in Australia.

Design: Screening test evaluation.

Setting: A remote regional centre (population: 20 000) in far western NSW.

Participants: Men aged 65–74 years, identified from the Australian Electoral roll.

Interventions: A mobile screening service using directed ultrasonography, a basic health check and post-screening consultation.

Main outcome measures: Attendance at the screening program, occurrence of AAA in the target population and effectiveness of screening processes.

Results: A total of 516 men without a previous diagnosis of AAA were screened, an estimated response rate of 60%. Of these, 463 (89.7%) had a normal aortic diameter, 28 (5.4%) ectatic and 25 (4.9%) a small, moderate or significant aneurysm. Two men with AAA were recommended for surgery. Feedback from participants indicated that the use of a personalised letter of invitation helped with recruitment, that the screening process was acceptable and the service valued.

Conclusions: It is feasible to organise and operate a mobile AAA screening service from moderate sized rural and remote population centres. This model could be scaled up to provide national coverage for rural and remote residents.