Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

We even offer a special package price
of $149 (or less, depending on location)
when you select our Complete Wellness
Package which includes our stroke/carotid
artery, abdominal aortic aneurysm,
peripheral arterial disease, and
osteoporosis screenings.

--Life Line Screening Web-site

Several of you have brought in flyers from Life Line, an independent service offering reasonably priced screening tests direct to consumers, wondering whether or not you should sign up for the exams. While direct access to such testing is appealing, do we all really need to be screened for this set of four chronic and serious conditions? Consider abdominal aortic aneurysms, or AAAs.

AAAs are a chronic, progressive, degenerative disease of the aorta as it passes through the abdomen, carrying oxygenated blood from the heart to the organs and legs. Over time, gradual deterioration and expansion of the aortic wall can lead to weakening and a catastrophic rupture. This aortic breakdown is initiated by the same injury and inflammation that sets off atherosclerosis or hardening of the arterial walls in other vessels throughout the body.

Well shoot, you do not want an aortic blowout mucking up your nice spring day. If a simple screening test can detect the condition, why not? The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) took on that very question, weighing the probability of finding the condition in selected populations against the costs and benefits of detection and operative repair.

They concluded that older men--ages 65-75--who ever smoked should undergo a screening test for an AAA. The experts concluded that ultrasonographers would have to probe the abdominal aortas of just 500 aging old guy smokers to find 1 aneurysm. The 1-year risk of AAA rupture is 1 in 10 if the aneurysm measures 5.5-7 centimeters, and 1 in 3 for bulging aortas stretched beyond 7 centimeters.

The USPSTF did not have an opinion one way or another about screening older men who never smoked. Finally, they graded AAA screens for older women as "D" or not routinely recommended unless she is a smoker with a family history of aortic aneurysms.

1 comment:

K said...

Thanks for the information on abnormal aortic aneurysms.

We recently wrote an article on intracranial aneurysms at Brain Blogger. An intracranial aneurysm can be defined as a thin sac that develops in the brain through the swelling of a weakened blood vessel. Current treatment for intracranial aneurysms are extremely risky, however a new, less invasive treatment is in the works.

We would like to read your comments on our article. Thank you.