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Vascular Surgery

Health screening question

05/13/2008

Question:

There is a history of abdominal aortic aneurysms in my family. My grandmother died of a ruptured one and my aunt developed one when over 70 years of age that seemed to stay stable at a size of around 2 1/2 cm. Is a person usually likely to have high blood pressure before developing this problem? Can a standard chest Xray detect an aneurysm or is an ultrasound test necessary? I am middle aged (in my 40`s) and am trying to decide whether it would be worth getting screened for this once now--and if everything is fine, then not be screened again until much older (70`s and above). Thanks for your response.

Answer:

Hello. Ultrasound of the abdominal aorta is your study of choice, not chest Xray. You are a bit young, but could make the case to your primary care physician that you are concerned about your history.  You have second degree relatives who have been affected, so your risk is reasonably low.

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated