The Somerset and North Devon Screening Programme Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme has been introduced and it is inviting men for screening during the year they turn 65.
Men over 65 who have not previously been screened can contact the programme direct to request a scan.
In some men, as they get older, the wall of the aorta, which is the main blood vessel in the abdomen, can become weak. It can then start to expand and form what is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA.
If left undetected, an AAA can burst and cause severe internal bleeding which is usually fatal. In England and Wales, an estimated 6,000 people die each year from ruptured AAAs – most of them men aged 65 and over. The NHS AAA Screening Programme aims to reduce deaths from the condition among men aged 65 and over by up to 50 per cent by detecting AAAs early and offering appropriate monitoring or treatment, usually surgery.
Mr Andrew Stewart, Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Director of the Somerset and North Devon AAA Screening Programme, said: “Men are six times more likely to have an aneurysm than women and the condition is most common in men aged 65 and above. This condition is particularly serious as there are generally no symptoms. This is why early detection of AAAs, through the screening programme, is so important.
“The screening is very simple and pain free and usually takes less than 15 minutes. To screen gentlemen, we use an ultrasound test, similar to that used to screen pregnant women, which involves moving a hand held scanner on top of the man’s abdomen (tummy). This test measures the size of the aorta in the abdomen and can detect whether an AAA is present.
“Gentlemen receive their result immediately and if an AAA is detected we are able to offer further monitoring or treatment. By screening gentlemen in this way we aim to significantly reduce the number of deaths from AAAs.”
Karen Bentley-Hollins, Programme Manager of the AAA Screening Programme, said: “Invitations for screening are being sent to men in Somerset and North Devon during the year they turn 65. Men over 65 who have not been screened previously or treated for an AAA can call the programme directly to request a screening appointment. If men would like to do this, the number they should call is 01823 344567.”
You can find further information here.