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Screen Older, Male Smokers for Type of Aneurysm, Experts Say
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are bulges in a major artery that can burst without warning

By Robert Preidt

MONDAY, Jan. 27 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A one-time screening for a form of potentially dangerous aneurysm is effective and recommended for men aged 65 to 75 who are current or former smokers.

So says a draft recommendation issued Monday by the influential panel of experts known as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

At question is a test to spot an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This condition is a bulge or ballooning in part of the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

According to background information supplied by the expert panel, the aorta travels through the abdomen, and bulging in the vessel often causes no outward symptoms. These aortic anomalies, however, can sometimes burst -- with often fatal results.

"Older male smokers are at the highest risk [of developing the aneurysms]," task force co-vice chairman Dr. Albert Siu said in a panel news release. "The good news is that, if you are a 65- to 75-year-old man who smokes or used to smoke, one-time [aneurysm] screening with an ultrasound, along with appropriate treatment, can reduce your risk of dying from a rupture."

The guidance for nonsmokers was less definitive. According to the task force, men aged 65 to 75 who have never smoked should talk to their health care provider about whether they might benefit from one-time screening for the aneurysm.

The task force also said further research is still needed to assess if screening is beneficial for women aged 65 to 75 who are current or former smokers.

Screening is not recommended for women who have never smoked. Because these women have a less than 1 percent chance of developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm, screening offers very little benefit and may even cause harm, the panel said.

The recommendation statement was posted Jan. 27 on the task force website, and the guidelines are open for public comment until Feb. 24. A final statement will be issued sometime after that.

Controlling heart disease is key to lowering a person's odds for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, said task force member Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo.

"There are many other things that men and women of all ages can do to reduce their overall risk of developing [heart] disease," Bibbins-Domingo said in the news release. "These include including quitting smoking; eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight; engaging in physical activity; and keeping blood pressure and blood cholesterol under control."

More information

The Society of Interventional Radiology has more about abdominal aortic aneurysm.

SOURCE: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, news release, Jan. 27, 2014

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=684175

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Aneurysm
Mass Screening
Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal
Aortic Aneurysm
Heart
Women
Blood
Aged
Risk
Men
Aorta
Arteries
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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