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May 17, 2010 1:28 PM by Chris Welty

May 22 Free Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening

Lafayette, LA - Drs. Mitchell Lirtzman and Charles Wyatt, Lafayette cardiovascular surgeons with Louisiana Heart, Lung and Vascular Center, have teamed up with The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana (formerly Southwest Medical Center) and Aneurysm Outreach, Inc. to offer a free abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening to qualified participants. The screening will take place on Saturday, May 22, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Medical Office Building at 4212 W. Congress, Lafayette, LA. Those eligible for the AAA screenings include individuals 60 years and older or individuals 55 and older with a family history of AAA. Participants are being asked to call to determine eligibility and schedule an appointment. The number to call is 1-877-344-6601.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an abnormal ballooning of the abdominal portion of the aorta, which is the major artery from the heart. Much like a weak spot in a worn tire bulges; AAA causes an increasing bulge in the wall of the aorta which can rupture if not detected and treated, resulting in death. The exact cause is not known, but risk factors include atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, smoking, hypertension, family history, age over 60 and being of male gender. About 25% of cases are those with a first degree relative with AAA. AAA is up to five times more common in men than in women and is 3.5 times more common in Caucasian men than in African-American males.
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Pg. 2 AAA Screen

Most AAAs are asymptomatic; they can grow very large and rupture without warning. It has been estimated that half of all people with untreated abdominal aortic aneurysms die of rupture within five years. AAAs are the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 3rd leading cause of sudden death in American men.

AAAs can be diagnosed with ultrasonography. Ultrasound has about a 98% accuracy rate in measuring the size of an aneurysm. Treatment options include traditional surgery as well as minimally invasive procedures with stent grafts.

Aneurysm Outreach, Inc. (http://www.alink.org/) is a Prairieville, Louisiana nonprofit organization that is dedicated to mobilizing people and resources to eradicate aneurysms. It is the first-of-its-kind charity to the U.S. aortic aneurysm arena.

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