Study Encourages Ultrasound

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The US Preventive Task Force has recommended that men aged 65 to 75 who have been smokers should get a 1-time ultrasound to rule out their chances of dying from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Key risk factors for this type of aneurysm are age, history of smoking, and gender. The federal health task force based their suggestions on a study of 4 randomized, controlled trials involving more than 120,000 men aged 65 and older in Australia, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

Reporting in the Annals of Internal Medicine (February 1, 2005), the task force found a 43% reduction in the number of deadly ruptured aortas in the participants who were screened. Abdominal aortic aneurysms happen when the aorta expands to 3 cm or greater. Its prevalence is found in 4% to 8% of older men and 0.5% to 1.5% of women.