Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

May 05, 2014
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when a weak area in the aorta (the major blood vessel that sends blood through the body) dilates and quietly expands. The dilated area can rupture or leak. Often AAA is only discovered when it appears on an X-ray taken for some other reason – or when it ruptures.
 
AAA is the third leading cause of death in men ages 60 and older. Nearly 90 percent of the time, a ruptured AAA causes death, so it is important to discover and treat it early.
 
Risk factors include:
  • Gender (males more than females)
  • Caucasian
  • Smoker
  • Family history of AAA
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Genetic disorders (such as Marfan syndrome)
As an abdominal aortic aneurysm grows the risk of rupture increases. It is best to detect an abdominal aortic aneurysm early. If it is small, we...