Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) are caused by progressive weakening of the aortic wall creating a “ballooning” of the vessel. While most aneurysms are asymptomatic and do not cause problems, some may expand in size and eventually rupture if not diagnosed and treated.
In most cases, there are no major symptoms for AAA. Occasionally, patients may feel abdominal, back or side pain. 75% of the aneurysms that are discovered are detected from diagnostic tests (such as x-rays) that were given for other health problems. Individuals may also feel a coldness, numbness or tingling in their feet and hands.
A ruptured aneurysm is an emergency and procedures must take place immediately to save one’s life and avoid serious complications.
Although AAA can be detected by physical examination, most are diagnosed today using an ultrasound scan or CAT scan. These are simple, non-invasive exams conducted on an outpatient basis. These exams also measure the size of AAA, a key element in determining the best treatment.
When aortic aneurysms are diagnosed early, treatment is safe and effective and the aneurysm is curable. Aneurysms are often detected while performing tests for entirely different reasons. Most patients have no symptoms, so if you are at risk, it is important to discuss AAA with your primary care practitioner.
• The risk of AAA increases with age
• Tobacco users are eight times more likely to be affected than non-users
• AAAs are between five to ten times more common in men than in women
• There are approximately 15,000 deaths per year related to the rupture of an aneurysm
• Ruptured aneurysms are the 10th leading cause of death in men over 50 in the country
The Medicare beneficiary has not been previously furnished an ultrasound screening for AAA under the Medicare Program; and
The beneficiary is included in at least one of the following risk categories:
The beneficiary has a family history of AAAs
The beneficiary is a man 65 through 75 years of age who has smoked at least 100 cigarettes in his lifetime; or
The beneficiary manifests other risk factors in a beneficiary category recommended for ultrasound screening by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) regarding AAAs, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the national coverage determination process.
Copyright © 2018 Triad Diagnostics - All Rights Reserved.