Free Screening

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 (All day)
Millions of men and women 55 and older are at risk for vascular disease, such as peripheral artery disease (PAD), carotid artery disease and abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). It can be a “silent” disease -- generally not symptomatic until a catastrophic event occurs, like an aneurysm rupture or stroke. Early detection can prevent serious and even fatal outcomes.

A team of specialists at University Medical Center will offer fast, free, noninvasive vascular screenings on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the fourth-floor clinic, vascular lab, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. The tests are free for people who are 55 years old or older with a history of one or more of the following risk factors: hypertension, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease. Screening is by appointment only; to schedule, please call (520) 694-6608.

Often described as poor circulation in the legs, PAD is a serious condition that often is ignored, but can more than double one’s risk of heart attack or stroke. AAA occurs when a weak area of the abdominal aorta (the largest artery in the body, which carries blood away from the heart) expands or bulges and then bursts. These non-cardiac vascular diseases cause as much death and disability as heart disease and more than any cancer.

“We now have available ultrasound and other screening technology designed to find vascular disease before it becomes a major problem,” said Joseph Mills, MD, professor and chief of vascular surgery at The University of Arizona Department of Surgery. “Sudden death or major disability can occur if certain vascular conditions are not identified and properly treated. The good news is that most of these conditions can be discovered by using simple, painless, non-invasive tests that take just minutes to complete."

Tests include a carotid artery scan to look for blockages in the neck in the arteries to the brain, an abdominal ultrasound to detect aortic aneurysms and non-invasive pressure tests to detect peripheral artery disease. The combination of all three tests, a blood pressure measurement and recording of the heart rhythm takes about 15 minutes. Results of the non-invasive testing will be provided immediately following the screening.

“Many people may have an aneurysm or peripheral vascular disease and not know it until it is too late. These simple tests can save your life,” said Dr. Mills.