Baptist to Host an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baptist Cardiovascular Services will offer an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening on August 24, 2013, at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.  This screening will help detect a condition that can be life threatening if not treated. Men 55 years of age or older, females 60 years of age or older and other individuals with a family history of AAA are eligible for the $35 screening. In the past, this screening has been listed in The Wall Street Journal as one of the “Five Health Tests Worth Paying For.”

With this type of aneurysm, the main blood vessel from the heart extends to the abdomen that develops a bulge, which can continue to expand until it ruptures or bursts. AAAs are thought to be caused by fatty deposits, which can accumulate within the wall of the body’s largest artery, cause it to weaken and eventually become larger.

“Abdominal aortic aneurysms are often referred to as the ‘silent killer.’ Most people do not feel any symptoms,” said Julie Grissom Cooley, NP-C at Baptist. “Many people think of an aneurysm as only a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. Aneurysms are actually more common in the large artery in your chest and abdomen called the aorta.”

Baptist’s AAA Screening will pinpoint patients who may be developing this type of aneurysm. The simple, non-invasive screening checks for dilation, stretching or ballooning of the aorta. The screening also includes lipid profile, hemoglobin/hematocrit, glucose testing, blood pressure screening and an A.B.I. (ankle brachial index), which is a simple test to check the circulation in your legs.

“AAA is the third leading cause of sudden death in men over 60, and the 13th leading cause of death overall in the United States. Each year approximately 15,000 Americans die from the disease,” said Baptist Cardiovascular Surgeon Daniel Ramirez, M.D. 

Although the cause is not completely understood, risk factors include atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), hypertension and cigarette smoking. AAAs usually strikes older men, but women can be affected too. Patients who have the risk factors for vascular disease are most vulnerable particularly if they have a history of smoking, high blood pressure and/or a family history of AAA.

“When aortic aneurysms are discovered early, they can be managed successfully,” said Dr. Daniel Ramirez. “Treatment options make it possible to prevent deaths if the problem is detected prior to a rupture.”

An individual screening takes 30 minutes and will be conducted from 7am until 11am. Registration is required contacting the Baptist Health Line at (601) 948-6262 or 1-800-948-6262.


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