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Abdominal aortic aneurysms: Mayo Clinic surgeon explains who needs screening, treatment
Date:7/16/2014

Rochester, Minn. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a potentially life-threatening condition: If the body's major blood vessel ruptures, it can prove deadly. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently updated its recommendations on screening. Mayo Clinic vascular surgeon Peter Gloviczki, M.D., explains who should be watched for abdominal aortic aneurysms, how they are diagnosed and how surgery, which now includes a less invasive endovascular option, is improving survival rates:

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video and audio are available for download on the Mayo Clinic News Network.

What abdominal aortic aneurysms are: a bulge in the aorta, which is the body's largest artery and is located in the abdomen above the belly button. The greatest risk is that the aneurysm will rupture.

"With every heartbeat there is increased pressure on the area of the aorta that has a weak wall and it bulges out, and ultimately when it reaches a certain size, it is going to rupture," says Dr. Gloviczki, the Joe M. and Ruth Roberts Professor of Surgery at Mayo Clinic and past president of the Society for Vascular Surgery. "And rupture is a lethal complication."

Who should be screened even if they have no symptoms: Men are at higher risk than women. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men 65 to 75 who smoke or were smokers get screened once with an ultrasound.

Mayo Clinic follows the recommendations of the "Welcome to Medicare" program, which covers screening for men who are smokers or have smoked and men and women who have a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms, Dr. Gloviczki says. Male smokers with no symptoms of abdominal aortic aneurysms should be screened at age 65, and, as the Society for Vascular Surgery recommends, screening should start at 55 for people with a family history of the condition, he says.

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis or
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Contact: Sharon Theimer
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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