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Original research
Effect of blood pressure lowering drugs and antibiotics on abdominal aortic aneurysm growth: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Jonathan Golledge1,2,
  2. Tejas P Singh1
  1. 1Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Townsville University Hospital, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jonathan Golledge, Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia; jonathan.golledge{at}


Objective There is currently no medical treatment proven to limit abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) progression. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to pool data from previous randomised controlled trials assessing the efficacy of blood pressure-lowering and antibiotic medications in limiting AAA growth and AAA-related events, that is, rupture or repair.

Methods A systematic literature search was performed to identify randomised controlled trials that examined the efficacy of blood pressure-lowering medications or antibiotics in reducing AAA growth and AAA-related events. AAA growth (mm/year) was measured by ultrasound or computed tomography imaging. Meta-analyses were performed using random effects models. A subanalysis was conducted including trials that investigated tetracycline or macrolide antibiotics.

Results Ten randomised controlled trials including 2045 participants with an asymptomatic AAA were included. Follow-up was between 18 and 63 months. Neither blood pressure-lowering medications (mean growth±SD 2.0±2.4 vs 2.3±2.7 mm/year; standardised mean difference (SMD) −0.07, 95% CI −0.19 to 0.06; p=0.288) or antibiotics (mean growth±SD 2.6±2.1 vs 2.6±2.5 mm/year; SMD −0.11, 95% CI −0.38 to 0.16; p=0.418) reduced AAA growth or AAA-related events (blood pressure-lowering medications: 92 vs 95 events; risk ratio (RR) 0.86, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.11; p=0.244; and antibiotics: 69 vs 73 events; RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.25; p=0.614). The subanalysis of antibiotics showed similar results.

Conclusions This meta-analysis suggests that neither blood pressure-lowering medications or antibiotics limit growth or clinically relevant events in people with AAAs.

  • aortic aneurysm
  • meta-analysis
  • systemic review

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  • Contributors JG conceived the study, collected data, critically revised and wrote the manuscript. TPS collected data, critically revised and co-wrote the manuscript and conducted the statistical analyses. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. JG and TPS are guarantors for this work.

  • Funding The Townsville Hospital and Health Services Study, Education and Research Trust Fund, and Queensland Government supported this work. JG holds a Practitioner Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (1117061) and a Senior Clinical Research Fellowship from the Queensland Government, Australia. TPS holds a Junior Doctor Research Fellowship from the Queensland Government.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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