Why Screen for Abdominal Aneurysms At Age 50

Dr. Stanley Lochridge, M.D., of Cardio Thoracic Surgeons, is asked to speak frequently, but he is especially busy during February – Heart Month. He was surprised at the reaction at a recent presentation when he mentioned the need for screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms.

“I had several people come up to me and say they were not familiar with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms and the need for screening, especially in men over age 50,” said Dr. Lochridge. “The screening is a simple ultrasound, but it can help detect this condition, which has a very high mortality rate.”

Medicare does not cover screenings for Abdominal Aneurysms until age 65, but Dr. Lochridge urges men to get screened early.

“As a part Heart Month, we did some free screenings at a local hospital. Out of 86 people, two had abdominal aneurysms,” added Dr. Lochridge.

The other added mystery to this condition is that there are frequently no warning signs.

“Most of the time when we find an aneurysm, we are screening a patient for another condition, like chronic back pain and we see it on a lumbar spine x-ray or on the CT scan,” added Dr. Lochridge.  “There are no symptoms frequently until one ruptures. And, once an aneurysm ruptures, it is usually fatal.  The surgical mortality rate after it ruptures is around 50 percent but if detected early and treated – it’s around one percent.”

If you have questions about Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms and wonder if you are at risk please contact your physician or our office about how to schedule a screening.