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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening programme

AAA screening team 1 web

The Hereford and Worcester AAA Screening programme commenced screening in May 2011.

The aim of the programme is to reduce deaths from ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms through early detection, appropriate monitoring and treatment. We are a community-based programme screening in GP surgeries, Health Centres and Community Hospitals across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

What is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

The aorta is the main blood vessel in the body. It runs from your heart down through your chest and your abdomen. In some people, as they get older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak. It can then start to expand and form a bulge or balloon, this is called an aneurysm.

aaa

Who is at risk?

Men are six times more likely to develop an aneurysm than a woman. The chance of having an aneurysm increases with age. You are at greater risk if you are or have been a smoker, you have hypertension (high blood pressure), your parent or sibling has, or has been treated for an AAA.

Is an abdominal aortic aneurysm serious?

Large aneurysms are rare but they can be very serious if left undetected. As the wall of the aorta stretches it becomes weaker and can burst, causing internal bleeding. Around 85 out of 100 people die when an aneurysm bursts.

Who can be screened?

We invite all men registered with a GP in Herefordshire and Worcestershire in the year they turn 65.

If you are over the age of 65 and haven’t been screened you can contact the programme to arrange an appointment on 01905 733830.

Why should I be screened?

You may not experience any symptoms if you have an aneurysm. So you may not know you have one.

We offer screening so that we can find aneurysms early and monitor or treat them, greatly reducing the chances of the aneurysm bursting.

What happens at the appointment?

We use a simple, pain-free ultrasound scan, similar to that offered to pregnant women. The appointment usually lasts no more than 10 minutes.

We will ask you to lie down and lift or unbutton your shirt. Will put a cool gel on your abdomen and glide a probe over your skin. A picture of your aorta will be displayed on the screen and this will be measured.

You will receive the results of the scan straight away and a copy will be sent to your GP.

There are four possible results:

  • Normal: no aneurysm is detected. Most men have a normal result. You will not require any further screening
  • Small aneurysm: Your aorta measures between 3cm and 4.4cm. You will be invited back for scans every 12 months to check if it is getting bigger.
  • Medium aneurysm: Your aorta measures between 4.5cm and 5.4cm. You will be invited back for scans every 3 months to monitor the size.
  • Large aneurysm: Your aorta is 5.5cm or wider. This is rare. You will be given an appointment to see a vascular consultant to talk about the possible treatment, usually surgery.

Occasionally the aorta cannot be seen at your first appointment. You will either be asked to attend for screening again or an appointment at your local imaging department will be sent to you.

How common is the condition?

Around 1 in 70 men who are screened have an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Contact details

You can contact the screening office for more information or to make or reschedule an appointment on 01905 733830, Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm.

Meet the team

AAA team 3 web

Clinical Director: Mr Amarjit Atwal, Consultant Vascular Surgeon

Specialist Vascular Nurse: Wendy Hayes, Vascular Nurse Consultant

Screening Technicians:

Paul Metti;

Joanne Keeley;

Heather Williams

Programme Manager: Rachel Mitchell

Programme Administrator: Rosa Pass

Useful links

To help you decide if you should be screened you can visit the AAA Screening Patient Decision Aid at: www.nhs.uk/descisionaid  

You can also find more information at:

www.nhs.uk/aaa

www.circulationfoundation.org.uk

www.bhf.org.uk 

or via our Facebook Page @HerefordandWorcesterAAAScreening

 

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