Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening

An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), is a condition in which the aorta, the largest artery in the body, stretches and balloons in the belly region. It is a medical emergency if an AAA ruptures.

Who is this screening for?

Over age 50+ OR 40+ and over with risk factors such as immediate family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm

Ages

40+

Frequency

1-3 years*

Risk Factors for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Emphysema
  • Genetic factors
  • Gender (males have a higher risk)
*Most people will need AAA screening every three years, but some, depending on risk factors and earlier screenings, may need it annually.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Details

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening is painless and non-invasive. It requires a person to lay on his/her back while a technician uses ultrasound to take images and measurements of your abdominal aorta. This screening is available as part of the core vascular screening package, which is designed to provide a more comprehensive summary of your risk factors.

About Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

The abdominal aorta is the main artery that originates in the heart. As the lining weakens from age and other risk factors, the vessel wall thins and expands. The most common location for an AAA is between where the aorta divides to supply blood to the kidneys and where it divides to supply blood to the pelvis and legs.

Warning Signs of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Many people with abdominal aortic aneurysm do not experience symptoms; these are the most common warning signs.
  • Intense back or abdominal pain
  • Rapid pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shock

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening FAQ

  • How do I prepare for a AAA screening?
    • Wear a comfortable, loose-fitting, two-piece outfit
    • Fast for four hours prior to your screening
    • Make sure the meal you eat four hours prior to your screening is a light one (less than half of what you normally eat of non-gassy food)
    • If you are thirsty during your fasting period, you may have half a cup of coffee or tea and a moderate amount of water
    • If you take medication, take it as prescribed
    • If you are diabetic and are not comfortable fasting for four hours, please limit yourself to a "diabetic meal" (piece of toast, one cup of any kind of juice and a half of a cup of coffee or tea). If you are in doubt, please follow your diabetic care plan.
*Most of the time, screening results are normal, providing the customer with peace of mind. However, in some cases, such as the real life stories here, potential health issues are identified enabling the person to do something about it before it is too late.
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