Men aged 65 and over in Lancashire and South Cumbria are being encouraged to be screened for a potentially fatal condition which can develop in the abdomen.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) can be caused when the main blood vessel in the abdomen – the aorta – weakens and starts to expand. If undetected, the condition can be fatal and around 3,000 men aged 65 and over die in England and Wales every year from a burst AAA.
Now an NHS Screening Programme for the condition has been launched in Lancashire and Cumbria, and men aged 65 and over are now being invited for screening. The service is being provided by Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust
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 aneurysmsearly and offering appropriate monitoring or treatment. Men aged 65 and over are most at risk from the condition and invitations for screening are being sent to men in Lancashire and Cumbria in the year they turn 65.
Men who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm will not generally notice any symptoms, which is why screening is so important. The test is an ultrasound scan to look for the aneurysm and is simple, non-invasive and usually takes less than 10 minutes. The screening test is highly effective and men receive their result immediately.
Those at higher risk are current or former smokers, people with high blood pressure or a close family history (parent or sibling) of AAA.
For more information, please visit the national programme website at: http://aaa.screening.nhs.uk
Notes for editors:
The NHS AAA Screening Programme sets national standards and protocols for the delivery of local screening services and co-ordinates the implementation of the programme across England.
AAA screening was rolled out nationally following research evidence showing that a population-based screening programme, using ultrasound scanning, for men in their 65th year would be effective in reducing mortality from ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms.
There are four possible results from the scan:
- Most people have a normal result (aorta<3cm): this means the aorta is not enlarged and no further treatment or monitoring is required
- If a small aneurysm (aorta 3.0cm – 4.4cm) is found it means the aorta is wider than normal and men are invited back for scans at 12-monthly intervals to monitor the condition
- If a medium aneurysm (aorta 4.5cm – 5.4cm) is found it means the aorta is wider than normal and men are invited back for scans at 3-monthly intervals to monitor the condition
- If a large aneurysm (aorta 5.5cm or larger) is found it means the aorta is much wider than normal. Only a very small number of men have this result. Those who do are given an appointment with a specialist team to have further scans and talk about possible treatment, usually an operation
For Lancashire and Cumbria, men who are over 65 and have never been invited for AAA screening can self-refer for a scan by contacting their local screening programme directly on 0191 445 2554 or email email@example.com