MultiCare Health System

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Procedures

Medicare AAA Screening

Where are AAA screenings available?
MultiCare offers AAA screening at Allenmore Hospital MultiCare Auburn Health Center, MultiCare Auburn Medical Center, Tacoma General Hospital, MultiCare Vascular Services - Puyallup, and MultiCare Vascular Services - Tacoma.

What is a AAA?
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is an enlargement or bulge that develops in a weakened area within the largest artery in the abdomen. The pressure generated by each heartbeat pushes against the weakened aortic wall, causing the aneurysm to enlarge. If the AAA remains undetected, the aortic wall continues to weaken, and the aneurysm continues to grow. Eventually, the aneurysm becomes so large and its wall so weak that a rupture occurs. When this happens, there is massive internal bleeding, a situation that is often fatal. The only way to break this cycle is to find the AAA before it ruptures.

AAA screening as part of the your initial Medicare exam 
Medicare will pay for a one-time AAA Screening for first time Medicare recipients that qualify for the benefit. The screening uses an ultrasound to detect bulging in the aorta. Once an aneurysm is detected, it can be treated by medical experts.

Who qualifies for the Medicare screening?

  • Men who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes or used tobacco sometime during their life.
  • Men and women with a family history of AAA.

Who orders the ultrasound?
If you are a first time Medicare patient, and wish to receive the free screening, the physician who performs the Initial Preventive Physical Exam or IPPE is the only person who can order the free ultrasound test. Otherwise, talk to your primary care physician about your risk for an Aortic Aneurysm to learn if an AAA screen would be a proactive step to keep you in the best health possible.