• April Newsletter

    April Newsletter

    Welcome to the April 2015 Newsletter.

     

    We are delighted to have hosted AAA screening in Buncrana Medical Centre on the 29th of January. AAA rupture is often a fatal event, regardless of age; elective repair is a life-saving and cost effective treatment. But aneurysms have to be detected before rupture in both men and women.

    Similar to the rest of the modern world, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Ireland. Vascular deaths in Ireland far exceed those from all forms of cancer combined. To help in the fight against cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, Mr.Sultan has established a free vascular screening program in the vascular laboratory, pioneering combined testing for overall cardiovascular disease.

    The screening program provides quick, accurate and minimally invasive testing for abdominal aortic aneurysms and leading causes of stroke. As a marker of peripheral arterial disease and cardiovascular burden we also include ankle brachial indices in the 15 minute routine. To date Mr.Sultan has screened more than, 1,500 patients with a 25% pick-up rate.

     

     

    DIAGNOSIS:

     

    A physical exam can detect an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Your surgeon may feel an AAA with his or her hand while examining the abdomen ultrasound exam. An ultrasound test uses sound waves to make images of your aorta. The procedure is painless and doesn’t take long. With gel on your stomach, an ultrasound probe is moved back and forth over the skin of your abdomen. An image of your aorta can then be seen on a screen. CT (Computerised Tomography) scan: A CT scan shows more detail than ultrasound. A series of X-rays are taken and put on a computer to form a picture of your aneurysm. During this test you may be given a special dye (contrast), which makes your blood vessels show up.

     

    What is abdominal aortic aneurysm?

     

    Your arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood from your heart to other parts of your body. The aorta, the largest artery in your body, runs from your heart, down through your chest, and into your abdomen. The abdominal region of the aorta is responsible for delivering blood to your legs, GI tract, and kidneys. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the wall of the aorta progressively weakens and begins to bulge. An AAA may continue to enlarge and eventually rupture if left untreated, causing severe internal bleeding and possibly death. In addition to concerns about rupture, clots or debris may also develop within an AAA. These substances can be carried to other areas in the body and block circulation, causing severe pain or possibly limb loss if blood flow is cut off for too long. Approximately 4,000 people in Ireland are diagnosed with AAA each year; more than 300 die each year from a ruptured AAA. However, AAA can be safely treated with early diagnosis.

    Causes and Risk Factors: Most aortic aneurysms are caused by a breakdown in the proteins that provide structural strength to the wall of the aorta. Some risk factors that contribute to this structural breakdown include:

     

    • Age: individuals over 60 years are most likely to develop the condition.
    • Gender: Males are more prone to the condition than females.
    • History of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
    • Family history of AAA
    • Smoking
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Chronic Lung Disease

     

    We Can Help Control Risk Factors by keeping:

     

    • Blood pressure control with anti-hypertensive medication.
    • Exercising 30 minutes per day.
    • Low Fat Diet/ Low Cholesterol diet.

     

     

    Surgical treatment:

     

    Surgical Repair:  In open surgical repair an incision is made in the abdomen and the surgeon removes part of the aorta and places a synthetic (man – made) tube in its place. This operation is performed under general anaesthesia and requires a hospital stay of 5 – 10 days.

     

     

    EVAR (Endovascular Aortic Repair)is the preferred method of connecting the aneursym through a small incision in the patient’s groin, a stent graft is inserted into the blood vessel and then placed in the abdominal aorta. This procedure is done with the use of an X-Ray monitor. After placement, blood flows through the stent graft, avoiding the aneurysm, allowing the aneurysm to shrink over time. All patients who have stent grafts in place require follow-up with ultrasound at regular intervals to evaluate the aneurysm and stent graft. The minimally invasive stent graft procedure avoids a large abdominal; incision. Most patients are discharged from hospital the following day and are able to resume normal activities when they get home.

    Mr Sultan will be returning to Buncrana Medical Centre in March for further screening and you may contact Anne Brogan if you are over 70 and male to avail of the invitation for screening.

    We look forward to seeing you.

    We also are pleased to welcome Dr. Danielle Mulhern to the team at the Buncrana Medical Centre.

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