If you are at risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), Medicare Part B will cover a one-time ultrasound screening, which could safe your life.
This screening is a powerful diagnostic tool that will identify any aneurysms – weak, bulging spots – in your abdominal aorta, a blood vessel about the size of a garden hose running through the middle of your torso, providing blood to the lower half of your body. Without a screening and because there are few physical symptoms, an aneurysm will go undetected. When it ruptures, with a sudden severe pain, blood pumps into your abdominal cavity and causes death within seconds. 90% of ruptured AAA cases are fatal.
Screening for AAA is vital if you have any risk factors. An AAA diagnosis means our physicians can provide treatment to avoid a life-threatening rupture.
Before your ultrasound, you will be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for 8-12 hours before the test. Having your digestive system “empty” will make it easier for the technician to get clear images of your aorta. Make sure you ask our physicians about any medication you regularly take.
The screening is painless and non-invasive. You’ll lie on your back and gel will be applied to your abdomen. Your ultrasound technician will roll a transducer around your entire abdomen, sending images to a computer. Expect your test to last about half an hour.
Dr. Tanquilut or Dr. Pradhan will then talk to you about your results. If any problems are found, you and our physicians will thoroughly discuss your condition, determine if additional screenings or tests are needed, and then analyze your treatment options.
A small aneurysm may require a “wait and watch” approach, meaning we will monitor your condition on a regular basis. If the aneurysm is more serious, Dr. Tanquilut and Dr. Pradhan will consider your repair options.
Medicare Part B will cover your AAA ultrasound screening if you meet just one of these risk factors:
- a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- you are a man 65 to 75 years old who has smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime.
If you have either of these risk factors, call your primary care physician today and request a referral. A referral is required to have Medicare Part B cover this ultrasound. When your referral is complete, call our office at 815-824-4406 to make an appointment for an AAA screening ultrasound. Early detection and treatment is life-saving!
Questions about AAA or other vascular health issues? Call our office or reply to this email. We will be happy to help!