Family screening letter

Your family member wanted you to be aware of a condition called thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection that you may be at risk of developing. The information provided here briefly outlines steps you can take to learn more about this risk and what you can do about it.

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Family Screening Recommendations

Your family member wanted you to be aware of a condition called thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection that you may be at risk of developing. The information provided here briefly outlines steps you can take to learn more about this risk and what you can do about it.

The aorta is the largest and main artery. An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge or enlargement of the aorta. A dissection is a tear in the wall of the aorta and is a medical emergency. There is treatment available for these conditions.

About 20% of people with thoracic aortic aneurysm or dissection will have a first degree relative who also has aortic disease. First-degree relatives include parents, siblings, and children. Both men and women can be affected.

If you are an at risk family member you should undergo imaging of your aorta. If you are not sure if you are at risk discuss your family history with a clinician. Imaging is non- invasive and does not involve needles or blood draws. If an aortic aneurysm is found, treatment is available. If managed properly, an aortic dissection can often be avoided.

What you should do next

Share this information with your primary care provider and/or cardiologist to discuss what screening is appropriate.
Your provider can refer to the 2010 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients With Thoracic Aortic Disease for further information.