Background Although intracranial aneurysms (IA) and abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) share similar risk factors, little is known about the relationship between them. Previous studies have shown an increased incidence of IA in patients with AAA, though the rate of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in patients with AAA has not been described.
Objective To use claims data with longitudinal follow-up, to evaluate the incidence of aneurysmal SAH in patients diagnosed with AAA.
Methods We examined longitudinally linked medical claims data from a large private insurer to determine rates of aneurysmal SAH (aSAH) and secured aSAH (saSAH) in 2004–2014 among patients with previously diagnosed AAA.
Results We identified 62 910 patients diagnosed with AAA and compared them 5:1 with age- and sex-matched controls. Both populations were predominantly male (70.9%), with an average age of 70.8 years. Rates of hypertension (69.7% vs 50.6%) and smoking (12.8% vs 4.1%) were higher in the AAA group (p<0.0001) than in controls. Fifty admissions for aSAH were identified in patients with AAA (26/100 000 patient-years, 95% CI 19 to 44) and 115 admissions for aSAH in controls (7/100 000 years, 95% CI 6 to 9), giving an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 3.6 (95% CI 2.6 to 5.0, p<0.0001) and a comorbidity-adjusted incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 2.8 (95% CI 1.9 to 3.9) for patients with AAA. The incidence of secured aneurysmal SAH was proportionally even higher in patients with AAA, 7 vs 2/100 000 years, IRR 4.5 (95% CI 3.2 to 6.3, p<0.0001).
Conclusion SAH rate was elevated in patients with AAA, even after adjustment for comorbidities. Among risk factors evaluated, AAA was the strongest predictor for SAH. The relative contributions of common genetic and environmental risk factors to both diseases should be investigated.
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.