Post featuring Jason K. Kim, M.D. Dr. Kim is a vascular surgeon and a member of Rex Vascular Surgical Specialists. He is double Board Certified by the American Board of Vascular Surgery and American Board of General Surgery.
The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It carries blood from the heart to all the vital organs in the body and to the legs and feet. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) can occur when the wall of the aorta weakens and it begins to bulge. If undetected, this bulging aorta can grow larger, silently and without symptoms, and eventually rupture. The risk of rupture is related to the size of the AAA, and rupture of the AAA can lead to severe internal bleeding and death.
If detected early, AAA can be permanently cured. It is estimated that more than a million people are living with undiagnosed AAA, and over 95 percent of these can be successfully treated if detected prior to rupture. AAA causes very few symptoms, but some patients may feel a pulsing sensation in their abdomen, or severe unexplained pain in their abdomen or back. Nearly two-thirds of patients who suffered a ruptured AAA never knew they had the aneurysm until it ruptured.
Risk factors for AAA include age over 60-years old, history of smoking, family history of AAA, high blood pressure, and COPD or chronic lung disease. A painless and risk-free ultrasound based screening can diagnose AAA and determine the need for treatment. Men who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes, and men and women with a family history of AAA should undergo a screening ultrasound.
Once diagnosed, treatment options include medical management, minimally invasive endovascular stent graft repair, and open surgical repair of the aneurysm. The safest and most appropriate treatment of the AAA will depend on the size, location, and other anatomical factors that will be determined by your vascular surgeon. The vascular surgeons of Rex Vascular Surgical Specialists at Rex Healthcare have undergone specialized training and have full access to the most advanced endografts and tools available to successfully treat AAA.
Call 919-784-2300 to schedule your screening AAA ultrasound with Rex Vascular Surgical Specialists.