Healthcare Industry News: abdominal aortic aneurysm
News Release - November 17, 2006
Public Television Special Examines the Dangers of Abdominal Aortic AneurysmsSmokers Are At Higher Risk for Silent but Potentially Deadly Condition
MINNEAPOLIS--(HSMN NewsFeed)--A new public television special sponsored by Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT ), titled "abdominal aortic aneurysms: A Silent Killer," is now airing across the country and highlights a dangerous medical condition that many people - especially smokers and ex-smokers - often overlook. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a balloon-like bulge in the body's main artery that can burst unexpectedly and cause rapid death.
Every year, 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with AAA, which can grow silently without any noticeable symptoms or warning signs. Unfortunately, the condition is fatal in approximately 15,000 Americans annually, but with proper screening it is a highly treatable condition. Endorsed by the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), "abdominal aortic aneurysms: A Silent Killer," began airing on PBS stations in many cities this month. It is part of the series "Healthy Body Healthy Mind."
This program is especially timely because Medicare will begin offering free, one-time AAA screenings in January 2007 to qualified patients enrolling in the Medicare system. This benefit is the result of the Screen abdominal aortic aneurysms Very Efficiently (SAAAVE) Act, which led to funding by Medicare as part of the budget reconciliation package passed by Congress earlier this year. The SAAAVE Act covers men ages 65-75 who have a history of smoking, and men and women age 65-75 who have a family history of AAA. Other risk factors for AAA include family history and high blood pressure. The benefit, which is part of the "Welcome to Medicare" physical, is available only to people entering the Medicare system for the first time, and patients must sign up for the screening within six months of enrolling.
"abdominal aortic aneurysms are detectable and treatable, and we can save thousands of lives through screening programs," said Katie Szyman, vice president of the Endovascular Innovations business at Medtronic. "This new television program was produced in collaboration with leading vascular surgeons and will provide viewers with a wealth of information about the disease. Medtronic has been a supporter of these screenings for many years and we encourage patients to watch the program and talk to their doctors to determine if they are at risk."
During the past three years, Medtronic has sponsored nationwide programs that have screened approximately 30,000 people at 180 locations. Hundreds of AAA conditions have been diagnosed, as well as 1,750 cases of other types of coronary and peripheral artery disease. Patients who receive screenings and are judged to be at risk for AAA receive important information about their treatment options.
AAA can be painlessly detected using an ultrasound or CT scan. When the aneurysm is detected before it has ruptured, patients can be treated with a high rate of success using either open surgery or endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), a minimally invasive procedure in which a tube-like sleeve called an endovascular stent graft is placed inside the aorta. The blood flows through the sleeve, thereby decreasing the pressure on the aneurysm.
Viewers should check their local public television station listings for scheduling information on "abdominal aortic aneurysms: A Silent Killer." Information is also available on the internet at http://www.itvisus.com/programs/hbhm.
Medtronic, Inc. is a worldwide leader in medical device technology including endovascular therapy. The company has more than 10 years of clinical experience with its endograft implants, by far the most clinical experience in the vascular industry. In the past decade, more than 100,000 Medtronic stent grafts, including its AneuRx® AAA Stent Graft System, have been implanted worldwide.
Medtronic, Inc. (www.medtronic.com), headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology - alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world.
Any forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in Medtronic's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended April 28, 2006. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.
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