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More screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms needed

29 Aug 2021

Ruptured AAAs have high death rate — but largely preventable

By: Tim Hodges, MD, Medical Director, Salem Health Vascular Surgery

As of May 2021, only 29% of Salem Health patients eligible for abdominal aortic aneurysm screening have actually been screened. Since early detection and treatment is the key to survival, screening is extremely important.

Ruptured AAAs have a high morbidity, and a mortality rate between 50 and 75%. They are largely preventable through ultrasound screening of at-risk patients. Insurance coverage allows for screening of patients aged 65 to 75 with a family history of AAA and men with a positive smoking history.

The treatment of aneurysms has evolved such that endovascular procedures are the treatment of choice for both elective and ruptured aneurysm repair. This treatment is much less invasive, has much lower morbidity than open surgery, and elective repair can often be done percutaneously with an overnight stay.

A recent study in the British Journal of Radiology shows that identification of an aneurysm with appropriate surveillance and elective repair added 4.8 years of life to patients managed in this way. A simple ultrasound exam is all that is needed. This exam is inexpensive and covered by insurance, and can identify the AAA before emergency surgery is required. If an aneurysm is identified, referral to a vascular surgeon for follow up is recommended.

As a reminder, patients need a provider’s referral for screening; the Salem Health Vascular Surgery Clinic is on the first floor of Building B. Their number is 503-814-8272, but to schedule appointments call the main scheduling number at 503-561-5293. To schedule with Glen Roseborough at Advanced Vascular Therapy, LLC, call 503-371-1756.