Sep 26, 2013 6:54 PM by akeam ashford
A Lafayette surgeon has seen an increase in the number of Acadiana residents who are needing surgery to repair aortic aneurysms.
The abdominal aneurysm is being dubbed the silent killer, because there are very few signs to tell you have it.
The aorta is the body's largest artery; it carries blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. In men 65 and older, aortic aneurysms are usually fatal if not treated early enough.
The aneurysm occurs when a section of the artery becomes weak and bulges.
At 75 years old, Ronald Suire found out he had been carrying around a nine-centimeter aneurysm.
"I was feeling well, so what makes you think i'm sick? Then all of a sudden I've got an aneurysm that's big, real big," says Suire.
At any moment, the aneurysm in his stomach could have ruptured, instantly killing him.
"I could have been gone by now, had I not done what they told me to do," says Suire.
Suire's father died at 76 years old from the same thing.
Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, Dr. Mitchell Lirtzman, says Suire's family history was a warning sign that prompted surgery.
"We generally don't do anything about them, until they get past five centimeters or two inches across," says Lirtzman.
Typically, Lirtzman says there are no symptoms. He says constant discomfort in your stomach, back, and side could be a possible sign.
To prevent the aneurysm from rupturing, Lirtzman says two stints are inserted into the stomachs artery, relieving pressure on the artery wall and allowing normal blood flow.
On December 12th, the Regional Medical Center of Acadiana will hold a free aortic aneurysm screening for men aged 60-85, women aged 60-85 with cardiovascular risk factors, and for men and women aged 50 and older who have a family history of aortic aneurysm.
The event will run from 8a.m. to 1p.m.