Musings of an Internet Marketing Consultant
Musings of an Internet Marketing Consultant

Monday, October 31, 2005

Have you a "genetically related" relative who has/had AAA?

There is a reason for the long gap in postings. I have spent the past month recovering from surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm ("AAA"), discovered only by chance when having an ultrasound and CT scan for another condition which fortunately turned out to be negative. I do thank the cardiovascular surgery team and the post-operative care team at St. Michael's Hospital for getting me through this in a case that turned out to be "textbook classic". From a patient education and "patient advocate" perspective it certainly helped that my son is a resident in Internal Medicine who had attended six of these surgeries during his undergraduate training a couple of years ago and is also a researcher in intravascular imaging.

More importantly the question is: what is your risk? and how can it be detected? The key risk factors appear to be:

  • age over 50 (this condition strikes 5% of males over 60 and 1% of females)
  • a family history of AAA (genetically related siblings and offspring)

  • There may be some other factors as indicated here.

    Most of the cases I have come across were initially detected due to an imaging study to assist a diagnosis for some other condition; there are usually no external signs of its existence. I consider myself lucky that it was detected; once detected the treatment is usually "textbook surgery" with complete recovery and return to normal life.

    If you meet both of the above conditions my surgeon recommends that you request an ultrasound for AAA every five years. If you want to add to his database contact me at via one of the tags on the sidebar; obviously all information will be treated with the appropriate level of confidentiality. (I am going through a HIPAA exercise for a client at the present time.)

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