An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), is a condition in which the aorta, the largest artery in the body, stretches and balloons in the belly region. It is a medical emergency if an AAA ruptures.
The abdominal aorta is the main artery that originates in the heart. As the lining weakens from age and other risk factors, the vessel wall thins and expands. The most common location for an AAA is between where the aorta divides to supply blood to the kidneys and where it divides to supply blood to the pelvis and legs.
An AAA screening is painless and non-invasive. DIS utilizes ultrasound to take images and measurements of your abdominal aorta. Using a device called a transducer, the technologist will move from one area of the abdomen to another, acquiring images and sending them to a computer screen. The technologist monitors the screen to check for a potential aneurysm.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men ages 65 to 75 who have ever smoked should have a one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms using abdominal ultrasound. Men ages 60 and older with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms should consider regular screening for the condition.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound. You must get a referral for it from your doctor or other practitioner.
People with Part B who are at risk. You’re considered at risk if you meet one of these criteria:
- You have a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- You’re a man age 65 to 75 and have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime.
For those who do not meet the criteria or do not have insurance coverage, DIS will perform this test for a fee of $150.