Savings Lives: AAAneurysm Outreach Update

AAAneurysm Outreach reports that over 600 military veterans participated in the 2nd annual free mass screening event for abdominal aortic aneurysms at the VFW convention in Kansas City July 21-24. Conducted as part of the national conventions of Veterans of Foreign Wars and VFW Auxiliary, the 2nd annual free aneurysm screening for Veterans resulted in 11­­ aneurysms being discovered requiring medical attention.

“It’s a real pleasure to be helping with the AAAneurysm Outreach screening program,” said vascular surgeon Keith Allen, who with Karthik Vamanan provided medical expertise for the screening event.

“This is a really under-diagnosed problem that faces a lot of people. Until you get screened, you never know you have it,” said Dr. Allen.

Drs. Allen and Vamanan consulted with screening participants at the VFW event-in one case after conducting emergency surgery for a ruptured aneurysm early that morning, in an unrelated patient.

“You’ve got to get screened and get it checked out.”

Up to 90 percent of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms die from the ruptured artery in less than 30 minutes.

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

“We are deeply grateful to those who have served our nation, and are privileged to provide this risk awareness education and lifesaving screening,” said Don Lanman, U.S. Army Veteran and AAAneurysm Outreach Board Member, at the Kansas City event.

“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 local professionals and national supporters.” Lanman said.

AAAneurysm Outreach kicked off this annual program with a similar screening at the 2017 VFW Convention in New Orleans where it identified 16 veterans requiring medical follow up.

New Orleans-based non-profit AAAneurysm Outreach coordinated this 2nd annual mass screening event in partnership with sponsors W. L. Gore & Associates, Philips ultrasound medical equipment company, the VFW, Society for Vascular Surgery Foundation, Massage Envy, and the professional medical services of St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute physicians and staff volunteers.

The screened veterans came from VFW posts across the US and ranged in age from 45 to 90.  The Vets were assessed for risk and educated 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 often fatal within minutes, and there are no symptoms before rupture.

It’s estimated that more than 1 million people are living with an undiagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysm. AAA screening is recommended every five years for all those over age 60 or with risk factors. Detected early, a AAA can be treated with a variety of effective procedures.

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