Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a bulge or balloon that forms in the wall of the aorta — the largest blood vessel in the body. An aneurysm is most commonly the result of an accumulation of fatty deposits on the vessel wall, but may also relate to heredity, trauma or other diseases that weaken the vessel wall. Eventually, the force of normal blood flow through the weakened aortic wall can cause the aneurysm to tear or rupture, which may lead to serious internal bleeding or even death. Approximately 80% of ruptured AAAs result in death.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are the 17th leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for the death of approximately 15,000 Americans each year. It is estimated that approximately 2 million people in the United States have AAA disease, with 200,000 new cases diagnosed annually.
The following individuals may be at higher risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms:
- Men over the age of 55
- Women over the age of 65
- Smokers or those with a history of smoking
- People with a family history of AAA disease
- People who have atherosclerosis (fatty deposits on the blood vessel wall), diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol
Because there are few noticeable signs and symptoms associated with abdominal aortic aneurysms, our Vascular and Vein Care Center recommends an AAA screening to assist in the early detection of this disease. Part of the welcome to Medicare package includes a AAA screening that can be ordered by your primary care provider. Appointments for this ultrasound can be scheduled in our Vascular accredited ultrasound laboratory.
Common AAA Treatments
Our vascular surgeons treat abdominal aortic aneurysms with both endovascular and traditional open repair.
Endovascular Aortic Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) stent grafting procedures have smaller incisions and are much less invasive, recovery time is less when compared to open surgery Patients that are not candidates for Endovascular repairs may be treated by a traditional open repair.
*Information from this article used with permission by Medtronic.