– A 15-minute screen just may save your life. Fifteen minutes is all it takes to undergo an abdominal aortic aneurysm, or AAA, screening. Dr. Mitchell Lirtzman, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon with the Louisiana Heart, Lung & Vascular Center, teamed up once again with The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana and Aneurysm Outreach of Prairieville to offer that screening for free. The fourth annual Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening is set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Medical Office Building of The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana, 4212 W. Congress St. "An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakened area of the abdominal aorta that supplies blood to the stomach, pelvis and legs," Dr. Lirtzman explained, "similar to a weak spot in a worn tire. This bulge in the aortic wall can rupture if not detected and treated, may result in death." According to the Society for Vascular Surgery and the Society for Vascular Medicine and Biology, AAA screens are recommended for all men ages 60 to 85, women ages 60 to 85 with cardiovascular risk factors and men and women ages 50 and up with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Screens on Nov. 10 will be done by appointment only. There is no cost to participate. Call 1-87-REGION-01 (1-877-344-6601) to schedule an appointment. Participants are asked not to eat or drink anything for eight hours before their scheduled appointment. The cause of abdominal aortic aneurysms is unknown. Risk factors include atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, smoking, hypertension, family history, over age 60 and being male. Nearly 25 percent of those diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm have a first-degree relative – a father, mother, etc. – who has the same diagnosis, Dr. Lirtzman added. You feel fine, so why should you make the call to schedule an appointment? Most abdominal aortic aneurysms are asymptomatic. In short, they can grow large and rupture with no symptoms, Dr. Lirtzman explained. Roughly 50 percent of those who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm that goes untreated die of rupture within five years. "Abdominal aortic aneurysm is the 13th leading cause of death in this country and the third leading cause of sudden death of men in the U.S.," he said. "Treatment options include surgery and minimally invasive procedures, such as stent grafts. With treatment options available right here in Acadiana, it's not worth it to wait and be screened another day. Call today. Do it for your family. Do it for yourself."