Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is an abnormal dilation or stretching of the aorta. The aorta is the main artery that comes from the heart and supplies blood to the body. The natural history of an aneurysm is to grow larger or stretch more with time. This dilation leads to weakening of the vessel wall and placing the aorta at risk of rupturing.
Multiple risk factors place a patient at risk for AAA. These include but are not limited to: male sex, age over 50, close relative of someone with an AAA, high blood pressure and smoking.
An AAA can be identified and followed over time with a simple and painless ultrasound study done in an accredited vascular lab.
Once the aneurysm exceeds a certain size, the risk of rupture is high enough to warrant repair of the aorta. 3-D computer modeling of the aorta using CT scan technology is then useful for operative planning.
The surgeons of MVC are skilled in traditional open repair as well as endovascular or minimally invasive repair of the aorta through small groin incisions. Patients are also offered to participate in national clinical trials of endovascular repair.
The Michigan Vascular Center has actively promoted vascular health awareness and offers free ultrasound screenings to access your risk aneurysm (see Vascular Screening on the right sidebar).
If you are over 50 years old and your parent or sibling has been diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, discuss this with your primary care physician or call 810-720-ASAP (2727) to see if you qualify for a free screening.