Healthcare Industry News:  abdominal aortic aneurysm 

Biopharmaceuticals Cardiology

 News Release - July 13, 2006

Geisinger Researchers Discover Ability of Statins to Help Control Danger of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

DANVILLE, Pa., July 13 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Researchers working at Geisinger Medical Center and The Sigfried Janet Weis Center for Research in Danville, Pennsylvania, have found that statins, one of the most commonly prescribed cholesterol lowering agents, can control the growth of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. As a result of these findings, a larger human genomic study is being planned to better understand this killer at the DNA level.

Patients with AAA should be treated with statins for their effect on the lipid levels and coronary disease frequently seen in these patients and now, Geisinger researchers believe, for their potential effect on limiting the size of their aneurysm.

With the country's leading electronic health records program and an exceptionally stable population base in rural central Pennsylvania serving as its test group, the research team led by James Elmore, M.D., and David Carey, Ph.D., hope the human study will lead to a method of slowing the rate of AAA growth before triggering fatal incidents.

With 24,000 deaths annually, AAAs are the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S. Five percent of men 65 years of age are stricken, and there is approved medication to help patients.

"There are twice as many deaths from AAAs as HIV/AIDS," said Dr. Elmore. "Yet this is virtually an ignored killer. Our hope is through more understanding of the frequency with which AAAs strike and how they can be controlled, that lives will be saved."

In January 2007, as a public health service, for the first time Medicare will allow screening in men for AAAs.

Geisinger Health System is the foremost rural healthcare provider in the United States. Founded in 1915, it has evolved into one of the nation's leading fully integrated healthcare providers. Serving more than two million residents throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania, the physician-led organization is at the forefront of the country's rapidly emerging electronic health records movement. With three major regional medical centers and a 650-member group practice, the pioneering system is home to the industry's pre-eminent not-for-profit rural HMO and the renowned Center for Health Research and Rural Advocacy-dedicated to creating innovative new models for patient care, satisfaction and clinical outcomes. For more information, visit

Source: Geisinger Medical Center

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