Green Introduces Aneursym Detection Bill
June 24, 2004
Washington, DC - In an effort to address a serious health risk for Americans, Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston), Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-PA), Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) introduced legislation this week to provide Medicare coverage of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) screening and detection. Known as Americas sudden killer, AAA affects an estimated 2.7 million Americans, 15,000 of whom die from rupture each year. The legislation will be known as the Screening Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Very Efficiently (SAAAVE) Act of 2004 (HR 4626).
Because AAA can strike suddenly and typically is not detected during physical exams, screening based on risk factors is the most effective way to detect an aneurysm before it ruptures, said Rep. Gene Green.
AAA is an abnormal expansion of the abdominal portion of the aorta, the largest artery in the body. This expansion can lead to an arterial rupture and cause severe internal bleeding. In occurrences in which the artery ruptures the survival rate is less than 15 percent. It is estimated that between 5-7 percent of adults over the age of 60 have AAA. Using 2000 census date, this means nearly 2.7 million Americans may have this life threatening condition.
The statistics clearly bear out the need for increased AAA screening: less than fifteen percent of patients with ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms survive; and two out of three victims die before they even reach the hospital, added Green. Without a doubt, Medicare coverage of AAA screening and detection is a life-saving health care investment.
Houstonian Byron Oler is an AAA survivor who can attest to the need for AAA screening and detection. Mr. Oler, a military veteran and writer, has long experienced high blood pressure and sought medical attention for excruciating back pain. After a 2.5 cm aneurysm was detected, Mr Oler opted for surgery to repair the aneurysm before it ruptured.
Dr. Peter Lin performed Mr. Olers surgery. An Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery & Endovascular Therapy at the Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Lin specializes in all aspects of vascular and endovascular surgery. Dr. Lin also has volunteered at Rep. Greens Senior Citizens Health Fair, where he detected several AAA cases among health fair participants.
Dr. Lin can be reached at 713-794-7895 and Mr. Oler can be reached at 713-662-2103.