Nearly 90 New Orleans residents were screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm at LSU Healthcare Network on April 21.

Sponsored by Peoples Health and W.L. Gore, the event was free and open to the public and resulted in 3 aneurysms being discovered, requiring medical attention.

“Up to 90 percent of the time ruptured abdominal aneurysms are fatal,” said vascular surgeon Dr. Claudie Sheahan of LSU Healthcare Network. “It’s likely that this screening saved lives. Aneurysm screening is an effective tool to get awareness out. And if you catch the aneurysm early it’s easy to fix,” she said.

The non-invasive ultrasound screening is a quick and painless way to find aneurysms and save lives. The noninvasive abdominal ultrasound test is simple and takes less than 5 minutes for the results.

“Most people have no idea about the dangers of this silent killer, and we’re able to provide this lifesaving screening, thanks to our professional medical partners and supporters,” said Barbara Guerard, vice president at Peoples Health and board member at AAAneurysm Outreach.

The participants were assessed for risk and were provided information on the risk factors: including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, history of smoking, or family history of aneurysms.

The third-leading cause of sudden death in men over 60 in the US, an abdominal aortic aneurysm (bursting of the main artery that carries blood to the lower part of the body) is almost always fatal- within minutes, and there are no symptoms.

It’s estimated that more than 1 million people are living with an undiagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysm, which was a contributing factor in the recent deaths of actors Bill Paxton, Alan Thicke, and Tommy Ford.

AAA screening is recommended every five years for all those over age 60 or with risk factors. Detected early an AAA can be treated with a variety of effective procedures.