Men aged 65 will be receiving a letter through the post very shortly offering an appointment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening and if you receive an invitation we’re urging you to take up this non-invasive screening which could save your life.
The screening - an ultrasound scan where gel is placed on your stomach and then a hand-held scanner is moved over the area – is a ten-minute painless process to check if there is a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your tummy, and you will know the result by the time you leave the clinic.
An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm can be serious if it’s not spotted early on because it could get bigger and eventually burst.
If there is no bulge in the aorta you will not have to have a scan again. If a small bulge or swelling is found you will be scanned again in 12 months. If a medium sized aneurysm is found you will be scanned again in three months and if a large aneurysm is found you will be referred to a vascular surgeon for further tests and possible surgery to save your life.
The service is being offered at the James Paget every Thursday from 26 May onwards as a way of expanding local screening beyond the doctors surgeries who already host this.
There are around 3,000 deaths each year in England and Wales from ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, with around one in 70 men having an AAA, and the NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening programme, implemented in Norfolk & Waveney in 2011, aims to reduce the rate of premature death by up to 50 percent.
Sarah Pond, AAA Screening Programme Manager for Norfolk & Waveney, said early detection increases the chance of AAA being successfully monitored and treated.
“We screen at various GP practices and community hospitals across the region, but we currently only have a couple of screening sites in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area, including Nelson GP practice who have supported us since inception. We’re really grateful to Lesley at the James Paget who has helped us find a room for this screening to be carried out at the hospital as this has good transport links to make access easier for local patients.
“AAA is six times more common in men than women and this screening can help save lives, particularly if you are at greater risk through smoking, high blood pressure or through family history, so we’d encourage you to take up the offer of this free screening when your letter arrives.”
You can find out more about the screening here; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm-screening/