Free Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screenings at Loyola Medicine
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Loyola Medicine Offering Free Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

screening for aaa

MAYWOOD, IL – More than one million Americans are living with an undiagnosed silent killer called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
An AAA is a bulge in the wall of the aorta, the largest artery in the body. The aorta originates at the heart and extends down to the abdomen. An AAA, especially a large one, could burst at any time, causing massive internal bleeding that could be fatal.
On Saturday, June 9, Loyola Medicine will hold a free ultrasound screening for people at risk for AAAs. The screening will be held from 8 am to noon at Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 S. First Ave., Maywood, Illinois.
"Early detection of aortic aneurysms is the key to minimizing the risk of rupture and death. A noninvasive ultrasound test is the best way to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm and measure its size," said Bernadette Aulivola, MD, director of Loyola Medicine's division of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy.
It's best to identify an aneurysm when it's small, so that it can be monitored over time and repaired once it becomes large enough to pose a significant risk of rupture. Depending on the patient, the aneurysm can be repaired with a minimally invasive technique or open surgery, Dr. Aulivola said.
Aneurysms expand slowly over years and typically cause no symptoms until a rupture occurs. More than 10,000 people in the United States die each year from undiagnosed AAAs. AAA rupture is the third leading cause of sudden death in men 60 and older in the United States.
The size of the normal abdominal aorta is less than 2 centimeters. Once an AAA reaches approximately 5 centimeters in diameter, repair is recommended.
But many people are unaware they have life-threatening aneurysms. Loyola patient Terry Crowe of St. John, Indiana, did not know he had a ticking time bomb in his abdomen – an AAA that was 8.5 centimeters (nearly 3 ½ inches) wide. One day, Mr. Crowe developed severe pain in the stomach area and went to a local emergency room. A CT scan confirmed the presence of a large aneurysm. The aneurysm had ruptured, but fortunately the bleeding was contained. Mr. Crowe was helicoptered to Loyola for treatment.
"I was very fortunate," Mr. Crowe said. "I had a warning sign and was able to get to the hospital."
Vascular surgeons traditionally treated AAAs with major open surgery that required months of recovery. But now, most AAA patients, including Mr. Crowe, can be treated with a minimally invasive endovascular procedure.
Mr. Crowe's surgeon, Dr. Aulivola, repaired his aneurysm by lining the damaged section of the aorta with a tube called a stent graft. The stent graft prevents blood from flowing into the aneurysm. Dr. Aulivola deployed the stent graft with a catheter that she inserted in the groin and guided up to the aorta. Mr. Crowe went home after two nights in the hospital.
Mr. Crowe, 71, said his mother died of a ruptured AAA. But he was unaware that he too was at risk. "Now I'm telling everyone I know who may be at risk for an AAA to get screened," he said.
Those eligible for the Loyola AAA screening include anyone age 60 and older who has at least two cardiovascular risk factors and men age 55 and older with a family history of AAA and at least one additional cardiovascular risk factor. Cardiovascular risk factors include a history of smoking, high blood pressure or cholesterol and hardening of the arteries.
To make an appointment for the Loyola AAA screening, call 888 871-3801. Advance registration and an eight-hour fast are required.
The screening is supported by W. L. Gore and AAAneurysm Outreach.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.