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New Orleans, LA – LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and the LSU Healthcare Network have teamed up with Aneurysm Outreach, Inc. to offer a free abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening to qualified participants. The screening will take place on Saturday, May 16, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the LSU Healthcare Network Baptist Medical Plaza Office (LSU Healthcare Network Physician Practice at the Ochsner Baptist Medical Center) located at 2820 Napoleon Avenue, Suite 890. Because AAA screening is recommended only for those older than 60 in the general population or those older than 55 with a family history of AAA and once every 5-6 years, participants must pre-qualify and schedule an appointment. The number to call is (504) 412-1110.

Participants are asked not to eat or drink anything for eight hours prior to their scheduled appointments. 

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. Individuals over 60 years are most likely to develop AAA and males are more prone to develop AAA than females. The exact cause is not known, but risk factors include atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, smoking, a family history of aneurysms, high blood pressure, and chronic lung disease. 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.

Most AAAs are asymptomatic; they can grow very large and rupture without warning. Ninety per cent of ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms are fatal. AAAs are the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 3rd leading cause of sudden death in men.

"Two-thirds of patients who suffer rupture of an AAA did not know ahead of time they had this condition" says Dr Hernan Bazan, an LSUHSC Vascular/Endovascular Surgeon. "This underscores the importance of early diagnosis thru such screening and the good news is that with early detection, different treatment options can be discussed with the patient and his/her family."

AAAs can be diagnosed with ultrasonography. Ultrasound is non-invasive, fast, and has a great accuracy rate in identifying the presence of an aneurysm. Vascular surgeons are the only physicians who can perform all treatment options available to treat AAAs, including deciding when it is best to observe and manage expectantly, minimally invasive endovascular stent graft procedures, and open surgical aneurysm repair.

The LSU Healthcare Network is the practice group of the medical school faculty of LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. Aneurysm Outreach, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to mobilizing people and resources to eradicate aneurysms. Other sponsors include Medtronic, Boston Scientific, SonoSite, Gore Medical Products, and Bard Peripheral Vascular.




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