Routine screenings can uncover unexpected conditions, doctors say

Man discovers he has large aortic aneurysm after undergoing CT scan ahead of colonoscopy

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – As Malcolm Lilly approached his 60th birthday, his doctor told him it was time he underwent a screening colonoscopy.

“The doctor who I saw said, ‘OK, you can have a colonoscopy but I want a sign off from a cardiologist,'” Lilly recalled.

The cardiologist did a CT scan of his chest, which revealed a large aortic aneurysm.

“I just couldn’t believe it. To me, it wasn’t possible,” Lilly said.

Dr. Wael Tamim, a cardiothoracic surgeon with Broward Health said Lilly was lucky because the condition often has no warning signs or symptoms.

“Most patients are asymptomatic until the aneurysm is very large and can press on other organs or lead to some other complications, which is why it’s called the ‘silent killer’”, Tamim said.

Surgical repair involves a complicated process to remove and replace damaged vessels and valves.

“The long-term prognosis is good. Once you take the aneurysm out and replace it with this tubing, that piece of tubing should last forever,” Tamim said.

After a week in the hospital and several weeks recovering at home, Lilly returned to work and his normal routine.

“From now on, I don’t think I’m ever going to miss an annual check-up with the doctor,” he said.

Data shows that men are more likely to develop aortic aneurysms.

Risk factors also include smoking, high blood pressure and family history of the condition.

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