CINCINNATI—UC Health vascular surgeons and Christ Hospital have joined the Find the AAAnswers national awareness campaign to provide free abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screenings to local Cincinnati residents who are at high-risk for the disease.
The free screenings—which take 15 minutes—will be offered at Midwest Ultrasound (8250 Kenwood Crossing Way) on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments must be scheduled in advance by calling (513) 936-5291 and will be granted on a first-come, first served basis. For at-risk individuals, a simple, painless ultrasound screening is an effective way to detect a potentially life-threatening aneurysm early enough for treatment.
An AAA is a blood-filled bulge or ballooning of the abdominal aorta, the main artery that carries blood away from the heart to the lower part of the body. Over time, the vessel wall can lose its elasticity, and the force of normal blood pressure can cause the aneurysm to burst unexpectedly. This can lead to severe pain, massive internal bleeding or sudden death. The risk for AAA increases for individuals that are over age 60, have a history of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a family history of the disease.
“More than one million people are living with an undiagnosed AAA, and if that aneurysm bursts only 10-25 percent of people will survive,” said George Meier, MD, professor and chief of vascular surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, medical director for the vascular laboratories at UC Health outpatient locations as well as University Hospital and member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. “The good news is that when detected prior to rupture, 95 percent of these aneurysms can be managed and successfully treated.”
Screening for AAA is quick and non-invasive, involving a simple ultrasound of the abdomen similar to a pregnancy ultrasound. In less than 15 minutes, the images produced by a qualified vascular technologist can identify the size of the aorta to determine if AAA is present. If an aneurysm is detected, measuring its size is a key step in identifying the best treatment option. Small aneurysms are monitored every six to 12 months for changes. Larger aneurysms may require immediate repair.
“Getting screened for AAA is a simple step that can help save lives,” said Peter Podore, MD, vascular surgeon and president and medical director of Midwest Ultrasound and member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. “By partnering with the Find the AAAnswers campaign and offering this free screening, we are hoping to increase public awareness about AAA and empower people to ask the right questions.”
Individuals at-risk for AAA, can call(513) 936-5291 to schedule a free screening.To learn more about AAA, visit FindtheAAAnswers.org.