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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms... You Can Do Something About Them!

Posted on: 2016-08-10 » in: Dr. Reid's Articles

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms…
You Can Do Something About Them!

By W. Scott Reid, D.O.

What do you think would happen in this country if every week a treatable medical condition killed an equivalent number of people as on one commercial airline flight? There would be outrage! There would be calls for action! Nobody would stand for it… right? Well, I am sorry to tell you that in this country about 15,000 people die each year from abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). This treatable medical condition robs many families of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters every year.

Are you or your loved ones at risk?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a weakness with enlargement of the major blood vessel in the abdomen. Many times these show no symptoms until it is too late. AAA is one of the most common aneurysms seen in a medical practice. Men are affected more often then women by a ratio of 4:1.

If you have been diagnosed with…Your risk of AAA
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) 5%
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) 10%
High Blood Pressure (HTN), or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) increased risk

 

In addition, if you have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with an AAA, you have about a 25% chance of having an AAA.

The problem with AAAs is that they may rupture, and the rupture risk is related to size. The five-year rupture rates are 25% for smaller aneurysms, but increase to 95% for larger aneurysms. And nearly half the patients with ruptures die before ever getting to the hospital. Even those that make it to the hospital for treatment have a 50% mortality rate.

Unfortunately, aneurysms often reach larger sizes before they can be detected on physical exam, but ultrasound and CAT scans can often detect an AAA much earlier.

What can be done?

The good news is patients often have one of two treatment options available:
1. The traditional treatment has involved major surgery with replacement of the aneurysm with a new blood vessel, often requiring a one-week hospital stay with a six- to eight-week recovery process.
2. A newer option offers treatment via small incisions in the groins. Less invasive than the traditional treatment, this option requires a hospital stay that can be as short as 24 hours, with a shorter recovery process. Not all patients are eligible, but your surgeon can tell you if you are.

If you think you or a loved one are at risk for an AAA, ask your healthcare provider for an exam or a referral to a specialist. All of the Board certified surgeons at Mid Illini Surgical Associates have had a fellowship or other training in the latest surgical options for a variety of problems.

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