1,003 Veterans Screened for Silent Killer: 16 Lives Saved

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[junkie-alert style=”white”] AAAneurysm Outreach reported today that more than 1,000 military veterans participated in the largest free screening event for abdominal aortic aneurysms in the U.S. [/junkie-alert]


The free screening, provided by one of the most influential non-profit organizations in the United States, was held in conjunction with the 118th National Convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars and VFW Auxiliary in New Orleans.  The end result was that 16­­ people presented with aneurysms that required medical attention.  Without screenings, fatalities may have occurred.

Dr. Claudie Sheahan, vascular surgeon with LSU Healthcare Network comment on abdominal aortic aneurysm fatality statistics: “Up to 90 percent of the time ruptured abdominal aneurysms are fatal.”  She points out, “It’s likely that this screening saved lives. Aneurysm screening is an effective tool to get awareness out. And if you catch the aneurysm early it’s easy to fix.”

The Role of Non-Invasive Ultrasound Screening:

The non-invasive ultrasound screening is a quick and painless way to find aneurysms and save lives. The non-invasive abdominal ultrasound test is simple and takes less than 5 minutes for the results.

The 1,003 screened attendees came from VFW posts in all 50 states and ranged in age from 45 to 90.  During this first-ever four-day mass screening event, the vets were assessed for risk and were provided information on the risk factors: including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, history of smoking, or family history of aneurysms.

The third-leading cause of sudden death in men over 60 in the US, an abdominal aortic aneurysm (bursting of the main artery that carries blood to the lower part of the body) is fatal within minutes, and there are no symptoms. It’s estimated that more than 1 million people are living with an undiagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysm, which was a contributing factor in the recent deaths of actors Bill Paxton, Alan Thicke, and Tommy Ford.

AAA screening is recommended every five years for all those over age 60 or with risk factors. Detected early an AAA can be treated with a variety of effective procedures.

Don Lanman, Army veteran and board member of AAAneurysm Outreach, “We are deeply grateful to those who have served our nation, and are privileged to provide this risk awareness education and lifesaving screening.” Lanman went on to say, “Most people have no idea about the dangers of this silent killer, and we’re able to provide this lifesaving screening to our vets, thanks to our local professional medical partners and national supporters.” Lanman concluded.

Editor’s Note:  New Orleans-based non-profit AAAneurysm Outreach coordinated this first-ever mass screening event in partnership with sponsors W. L. Gore Inc., Society for Vascular Surgery Foundation, Philips medical equipment company, the VFW, and the professional medical services of LSU Healthcare Network physicians and staff. Support was also provided by Delgado Community College, University of New Orleans, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Rouses Market, Community Coffee, Humana and others.