Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
The largest artery, the aorta, is found in the abdomen. When the walls of the aorta become weak from plaque build-up, an aneurysm can form. An aneurysm is a bulge that forms in the wall from fast pumping blood against a weak artery wall. This bulge can leak or rupture. Aortic aneurysms can develop slowly over a long period of time and often go unnoticed.
If an aortic aneurysm ruptures, you may experience sudden symptoms:
- Intense abdominal or back pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
Risk factors include:
- A family history of AAA
- History of high blood pressure
If you are a man between the age of 65-75 with a personal history of smoking, the CDC recommends that you undergo a one time AAA screening.
If you are a man over the age of 60 with a family history of AAA, you should also be screened.
If your doctor suspects AAA, you will need to schedule an abdominal ultrasound. This procedure locates the aneurysm and measures the size. Doppler ultrasound technology can also be used to view the blood flow through the aorta.
If the aneurysm is smaller than 5 cm, it can be treated at home with regular ultrasound monitoring. You will need to stop smoking, control high blood pressure, and lower cholesterol.
If the aneurysm is larger than 5 cm, is growing quickly, or is leaking, you will require a surgical procedure to treat it.
Contact Radiology Consultants today to schedule your AAA screening. The procedure is quick, painless, and well worth the effort.