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International Journal of Vascular Medicine
Volume 2010, Article ID 789198, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/789198
Research Article

Limitations of Online Information on Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, BB 204D, New Haven, CT 06510, USA

Received 8 November 2010; Accepted 19 December 2010

Academic Editor: Mark D. Morasch

Copyright © 2010 Carolyn G. Goldberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Patients with AAA face a complex decision, and knowledge of the risks and benefits of each treatment option is essential to informed decision-making. Here we assess the current information on the internet accessible to patients regarding the management of AAA. Study Design. We performed a search on Google using the keywords “abdominal aortic aneurysm” and reviewed the top 50 web sites. We focused on information related to treatment options and alternatives to treatment and the risks of each option. Results. Twenty-seven websites were included in the study. Nearly 30% of websites discussed the risk of mortality and myocardial infarction after open surgery, compared to only 7.4% for both risks after EVAR. Other complications were listed by fewer websites. Fifty-five percent of websites reported that patients had a faster recovery following EVAR, but only 18.5% mentioned the risk of reintervention after EVAR or the need for long-term surveillance with CT scans. Conclusions. While most websites included descriptive information on AAA and mentioned the potential treatment options available to patients, the discussion of the risks of open surgery and EVAR was inadequate. These results suggest that websites frequently accessed by patients lack important information regarding surgical risk.