House Call: Treating AAA

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Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward.  This is serious because at any moment, the aneurysm can rupture, potentially causing an individual to bleed to death. 

Most often, AAA is asymptomatic and discovered incidentally.  Because AAA is often asymptomatic, it is important to know the risk factors.  Males who smoke tobacco are at high risk for developing AAA. 

More: PDF: Matters of the Heart Event

For those that meet high risk qualifications of developing AAA, Medicare now covers screening ultrasounds for the condition.  Individuals with AAA should be treated before the vessel ruptures.  AAA is now being treated through the use of Endovascular Aortic Repair, which has significantly lower mortality and complication rates than traditional surgical intervention. 

Treatment for AAA must be individualized to the patient’s needs.  Therefore if the condition is detected, patients should discuss treatment options with a vascular surgeon.  Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of vascular surgeons and related healthcare providers dedicated to treating AAA and other vascular diseases for individuals throughout the community.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Brian Liang-Yu Chen is a vascular surgeon at Vascular and Vein Specialists of Greensboro and a member of Cone Health medical staff.  Dr. Chen is a 1999 medical school graduate of Emory University.  He completed his residency in general surgery at Washington Hospital Center and his vascular surgery training at Eastern Virginia Medical School.