SOURCE: Find the AAAnswers Coalition

Find the AAAnswers Coalition

August 02, 2011 08:05 ET

Find the AAAnswers Kicks Off Free Screening Tour to Detect Silent but Deadly Vascular Condition

National Campaign Helps Save Lives From Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA)

ROANOKE, VA--(Marketwire - Aug 2, 2011) - The Find the AAAnswers campaign -- which advocates for increased awareness and preventive screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) -- will hit the road again this summer to host free screenings in an effort to detect this silent but deadly vascular condition. More than one million Americans are living with an undiagnosed AAA1, and only 10-25 percent of those people will survive if their aneurysm ruptures2. The good news is that with a simple ultrasound screening, an AAA can be found early and effectively managed. The free screening events will be held at select Kmart Pharmacies across the country, as part of a joint initiative to provide early detection information and services to Americans.

An AAA (pronounced "triple A") is a blood-filled bulge or ballooning of the abdominal segment of the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart to the lower part of the body. Over time, the bulge -- known as an aneurysm -- can become weak and burst unexpectedly with fatal consequences -- making it the third leading cause of sudden death in men over 603. A woman's risk for AAA is significant too, as research shows the condition may be more deadly in women4-5. The risk for AAA increases in individuals that are age 60 and over with a history of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or a family history of the disease.

"During last fall's screening tour, we screened more than 1,000 at-risk individuals and educated countless others about the seriousness of vascular disease. The Find the AAAnswers Coalition is excited to offer these preventive services again to the public at no cost," said R. Clement Darling III, MD, Treasurer of the Society for Vascular Surgery®; Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery at Albany Medical Center Hospital and a Find the AAAnswers Coalition member. "Because in many cases there are no warning signs, preventive screening for AAA is an effective way to detect a potentially life-threatening aneurysm. When detected early, at least 95 percent of AAAs can be managed and successfully treated."1

The campaign's national ambassador is professional football legend Joe Theismann, whose father was diagnosed with an AAA. "My dad was lucky; he found his aneurysm early and was able to take the appropriate steps to manage it. Unfortunately, for many others, this isn't the case. That's why preventive screening is so important," said Theismann. "If you or a loved one is at risk for AAA, please go get screened. Screening is a simple step that can help save lives."

Screening for AAA is quick and non-invasive, involving a simple ultrasound of the abdomen, similar to a pregnancy ultrasound. At select Kmart Pharmacies across the country, pre-registered people will visit a 40-foot customized RV to receive a screening by a vascular technologist in a private exam room. Local board-certified vascular surgeons will volunteer on-site to answer questions and distribute educational materials about AAA disease.

The first event of the 2011 screening tour will take place on Saturday, August 6th at the Kmart Pharmacy located at 3533 Franklin Road SW. in Roanoke, VA. To learn if there is a free screening event scheduled near you, visit www.FindtheAAAnswers.org or call 866-371-3592. Registration is required for all events and space is limited.

The Find the AAAnswers partnership with Kmart Pharmacy began in September 2010. In addition to free AAA screenings offered at select stores, individuals can also take a pharmacist-administered AAA risk assessment quiz at more than 900 Kmart Pharmacy locations. AAA educational guides are available at locations nationwide.

About Find the AAAnswers
Find the AAAnswers is a multi-faceted public education campaign designed to raise awareness of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) and drive at-risk individuals to be screened. The program is sponsored by Medtronic and supported by the Find the AAAnswers Coalition, an alliance of concerned medical societies that have come together to provide accurate information about AAA. Coalition members include the American College of Preventive Medicine, the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society, the Society for Vascular Nursing, the Society for Vascular Surgery and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound. In September 2010, Kmart Pharmacy partnered with the Coalition and assists in offering free AAA education, risk assessment and screening to consumers in the United States. For more information, visit www.FindtheAAAnswers.org.

[1] Society for Vascular Surgery. Protect Yourself From An AAA Rupture. http://www.vascularweb.org/practiceresources/Documents/BrandingPDFs/newsletter_story_aaa.doc. Assessed on September 8, 2010.
2 Earnst, CB Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. N Engl J Med.1993;328:1167-72.
3 Ohki T, Veith FJ. Endovascular Repair of Ruptured, AAAs In treating AAAs, endovascular repair may hold the key over open repair to lowering mortality. Endovascular Today. January 2004;47-51.
4 McPhee JT, Hill JS, Eslami MH. The impact of gender on presentation, therapy, and mortality of abdominal aortic aneurysm in the United States, 2001-2004. J Vasc Surg2007;45:891-9.
5 Norman PE, Powell JT. Abdominal aortic aneurysm--the prognosis in women is worse than in men. Circulation2007;115:2865-9.

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