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Free Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Event to Take Place March 25, 2017

Known as the silent killer, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is the third leading cause of death in men over age 60 and research suggests that more than one million people are living with undiagnosed AAA. Getting screened is a simple step that can save lives.

On March 25, 2017, University Medical Center (University Medical Center) New Orleans, AAAneurysm Outreach and W.L. Gore will host a free abdominal aortic aneurysm screening from 8 a.m. to noon in Conference Center Room J at University Medical Center New Orleans, located at 2000 Canal Street. Parking is available in the University Medical Center garage, at the corner of Tulane Avenue and S. Prieur Street.

Advance registration is required. Call (888) 871-3801 for an appointment. Participants must fast for 8 hours before the screening.

“Death from a ruptured aneurysm is preventable with careful screening,” said William Risher, MD, a thoracic surgeon with University Medical Center’s Heart & Vascular Service Line. “This screening test is a simple ultrasound of the abdomen. It only takes a few minutes and is painless.”

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a ballooning of the abdominal aorta, the artery that carries blood to the lower part of the body. Ruptured aneurysms are fatal in at least 80 percent of the cases, but if the aneurysm is found early, it can be treated to prevent rupturing.

“It’s the silent widow-maker, that’s what they call it,” said Shannon Watts, 60. His doctor discovered the previously undiagnosed condition during a procedure in 2014. Watts had suffered a heart attack and several generations in his family had heart disease. “It was found by accident, they weren’t looking for it, but my doctor told me I was very, very lucky. If you have a family history of coronary artery disease, you need to get checked.”

AAAneurysm Outreach Executive Director J B Hunt outlined the following eligibility requirements for the screening, which should be performed once every five years:

  • Individuals who are 60 and older who have at least two cardiovascular risk factors,
  • Men age 55 and older with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm, and
  • At least one additional cardiovascular risk factor

Risk factors for AAA include a history of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and hardening of the arteries.

About AAAneurysm Outreach

Since 1999, AAAneurysm Outreach has provided life-saving early detection screenings for at-risk individuals across Louisiana and beyond. Our mission is to eliminate the silent killer of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) by providing awareness, education, free screening, and support to those at risk and in greatest need.

AAAneurysm Outreach works with healthcare organizations, vascular surgeons, sonographers and other clinical personnel to implement its initiatives throughout several states. Since 2001, the organization has screened more than 10,000 eligible individuals and provided education and support to thousands of families and community members.