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Nov 8, 2013 9:01 AM by Elizabeth Hill

Simple screening could save your life

Dallas Broussard, Sr. visited his doctor complaining of stomach pains, but an ultrasound revealed a much more serious condition. He had an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Broussard was referred to cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Mitchell Lirtzman, who monitored the artery for several years.

"The larger the blood vessel gets, the larger it's going to get because of the increased tension on the wall as the radius of the artery increases."

"He said it was to the point to where he had to go in and repair it."

Broussard had, what was at the time, a relatively new type of surgery. Doctors put a graft into the artery to take away the blood supply to the aneurysm while still allowing blood to flow to vital areas of the body.

"I kept working, kept hunting, kept doing what I wanted to do."

Preventative screenings are the only way to detect AAA and determine if surgery is necessary. Lirtzman says waiting until symptoms present, likely means it's too late.

"if you wait until one has symptoms, the mortality rate increases to 50 to 70 percent."

The screening is as simple and non-invasive as an ultrasound. The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana is offering free triple a screenings for patients who qualify. It's reccommended for people 60 and over or 50 and over with a family history of AAA. Registration is now open for the December 7 screenings. To register you can call toll free at 1-877-344-6601.

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