Ultrasound screening to protect against aortic tear


Experts recommend prevention for all men over the age of 65

About 200,000 people in Germany are affected by a so-called "abdominal aortic aneurysm", which is a pathological dilation of the abdominal artery (aorta), which in most cases is caused by vascular calcification (arteriosclerosis). The disease is particularly common in older men and is often fatal because the aneurysm can suddenly burst and cause internal bleeding. Since in such a case all help is often too late, surgeons require a statutory ultrasound examination for early detection for all men from the age of 65 and for particularly vulnerable groups of people.

Internal bleeding due to sudden rupture of the aneurysm. Abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs relatively frequently, particularly in older men, whereby active and former smokers in particular are considered to be at risk. In addition, there is obviously an inherited disposition. Since the disease is usually not noticed by the patient, the greatest danger is that an aneurysm suddenly bursts and internal bleeding occurs (rupture), and there are further risks, for example, in the formation of blood clots in the aneurysm that lead to acute vascular occlusion can lead in the legs. In the case of a rupture, in most cases all help comes too late, 80 percent of the cases end fatally, according to information from the German Society for Surgery (DGCH) in advance of the 131st Surgeons' Congress, which takes place in Berlin from March 25th to 28th.

Early detection is particularly important The early detection of an abdominal aortic aneurysm is therefore important, which is why surgeons have long been calling for a statutory ultrasound examination for early detection for all men from the age of 65 and for particularly vulnerable groups of people, including people with excessive nicotine consumption or Count atherosclerosis. "Studies show that such a screening reduces the death rate by half," said the President of the German Society for Surgery (DGCH), Professor Dr. med. Joachim Jähne.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm is usually not noticed at all. The particularly dangerous thing about an abdominal aortic aneurysm is that it is often not noticed by those affected, which can cause the artery to suddenly tear open. According to Professor Dr. Eike Sebastian Debus from the DGG can be minimized by a simple painless ultrasound screening, since the enlargement of the aorta can be easily recognized in this way and can therefore be treated in good time. Based on positive experiences from abroad, according to Debus it can be assumed that preventive examinations could significantly reduce the number of deaths and emergency operations: "We therefore advocate introducing such an examination in Germany as a medical service," said Debus, the director at the University Heart Center Hamburg and acts as President of the DGG.

Women at risk should also be checked urgently In line with current practice in the USA, Debus recommends a one-time ultrasound scan for all men over the age of 65, whereby smokers and ex-smokers in particular would be considered a particularly vulnerable group. If they belong to the risk groups, according to the vascular expert, women over 65 should also be checked once - this includes women who smoke or who are known to have a cardiovascular disease themselves or within the family. In addition to this, according to Professor Debus, there is another group of people who are at increased risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm and who should therefore be screened urgently: "This includes men and women of all ages with known abdominal aortic aneurysms in the family."

Do not limit the examination to vascular specialists. If the ultrasound does not reveal any abnormalities, there is normally no reason for further examinations - in the other case, however, further checks must be carried out to prevent serious consequences. From the DGG's point of view, this is a very sensible and effective measure, Debus continues, because "screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms is thus significantly cheaper than, for example, breast cancer screening or screening for colon or prostate cancer." Another advantage of prevention is that Doctors are able to use them nationwide, because ultrasound devices and the necessary expertise are available everywhere. To prevent more deaths due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm, there should be no restrictions, especially here: "We explicitly do not require this examination to be restricted to vascular specialists", Debus continues. (No)

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Video: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm AAA Ultrasound


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