beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

To find a doctor, call 800-667-5356 or click below:

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

left banner
right banner
Smaller Larger

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Qualified Medicare recipients are entitled to a free, one-time screening to detect abdominal aortic aneurysms.

You may be eligible within the first 12 months of your enrollment in Medicare. To qualify, if you are a man, you must have smoked at least 100 cigarettes during your life. Men and women with a family history of AAA may also be eligible.

To schedule a screening at the CVI, call 617-632-9959.

What is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

Location in the Abdomen

When aneurysms are located on the part of the aorta found in your abdomen, they are called aortic abdominal aneurysms (AAA). The abdominal aorta supplies blood to the lower part of your body. In the abdomen, just below the naval, the aorta splits into two branches, called the iliac arteries, which carry blood into each leg.

Pressure Can Cause Bulge

In an AAA, the pressure from blood flowing through the aorta can cause a weakened part of the aorta to bulge, similar to a balloon. A good analogy is a bubble in a garden hose. A normal aorta is about one inch (or 2 centimeters) in diameter.

Bulge Can Cause Rupture

An AAA can stretch the aorta far beyond its safety margin as it expands, resulting in a rupture. These ruptures are extremely dangerous and can cause life-threatening bleeding. Each year, about 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with AAAs. Of them, about 15,000 have AAAs that are considered serious enough to cause death from rupture if not treated. Fortunately, if diagnosed early, AAAs can be treated safely and effectively.

Patient Stories

Twelve years ago, Robert Doherty, a 71 year old retired insurance company rep, woke up in the middle of the night with "unbelievable pain in his right hip". At his local community hospital emergency department, physicians discovered that he had no blood pressure at all due to a ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) and was rushed into surgery. Read More>>
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) can be a silent killer, especially when there's a family history. Jane Weiner chose minimally invasive surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center instead. Read More and Watch Video>>

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215