I have always had my annual physicals which showed no problems. Low normal blood pressure, great EKG's etc. In June of 1997, after a great physical, and during a period of financial difficulty, I allowed my health insurance to cancel. This was to a be short term cancellation until things improved.
In Feb 1998, our church offered an inexpensive "Stroke Prevention" clinic. Everyone was going, so I agreed to go almost with tongue in cheek. The first test was for blood circulation throughout the body(BP in arms and ankles), the next test was for Carotid Artery blockage. During both of these tests I was able to kid around with the Tech and got them to admit that there wasn't any problem. The third test was a sonogram of the abdomen...I could get this guy to give me anything, so I thought something was wrong.
I finally received the verdict by certified mail . . .4.7cm AAA. I went to my Family Physician (had done a residency in Vascular at Baylor)who checked me over (BP and Heart) both were good; and referred me to the top Vascular Surgeon (Simon Oldstein) in Phoenix. We reviewed the options with no insurance: VA, an experimental stent program (which was immediately rejected).
So off I go to the VA. Chest Xray ok(even though I have been a heavy smoker), Kidney, Liver, Prostate et al fine. CT SCAN now shows the AAA to be 5.4cm x 5.2cm and off to the Vascular Dept I go. A resident examines me and we schedule an Angiogram for 5-13-98 and surgery for 5-14-98. I am not at all comfortable with what I have seen at the PHX VA and am considering either Tucson VA or Long Beach CA VA. I am beginning to have some of the symptoms that I was advised to look out for: Low back pain (moderate) and I believe a couple of small blood clots passed through my upper leg. Short severe burning sensation about the size of a dime that lasted just a few seconds. When I pressed on the area it felt like a bruise. Everything including the bruise feeling went away shortly.
So I guess that I haven't a lot of time to research other facilities and will undoubtedly go with the PHX VA.
Update: 14 Feb 2003
My AAA repair was done in May 1998 and was quite uneventful. They did not have to use the Y as the Iliac were fine. The only complaint that I had was the time it took to get my energy level back.
In January, exactly 5 years from the time that my AAA was first diagnosed I received the news that I have another AAA In same exact location as the first. This was totally unexpected since I didn.t think it was possible for the Dacron implant to to expand to 4.4cm. I still have my doubts and tend to think that the aneurysm is due to a leak in the aorta outside of the Dacron implant.
I would be interested in finding any available information on 2nd AAA repairs such as: Frequency of occurrence, surgical risk factors for the second repair. At the current growth rate surgery will be called for in approximately 9 months. As always, Thank You and God Bless
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