Men across Forth Valley are offered the scan which could help save their lives thanks to the introduction of the first male-only national screening programme. All men aged 65 are being offered appointments to attend their local community hospital to be screened for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms also known as AAA.
An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm forms when the aorta, the main artery that supplies blood to the body from the heart, becomes weak and balloons out. As the wall of the aorta stretches, it becomes weaker, and it could rupture. If the aneurysm ruptures, this leads to life-threatening internal bleeding and, in 8 out of 10 cases, can prove fatal. Small or medium aneurysms rarely cause trouble, however, it is still important to identify them so that they can be monitored incase they grow bigger.
It is estimated that about one in 20 men in Scotland have an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, most of who are unaware that they have the condition as many only experience pain when the aneurysm ruptures.
The simple, painless test is done using an ultrasound scan which is the same method used to examine pregnant women. It only takes 10 minutes and the results are available instantly after the scan.
Around 95% of men are expected to have a normal scan and will exit the screening programme. If a small or medium aneurysm is found, regular scans will be offered to monitor its size. Anyone found to have a large aneurysm will be referred for surgical treatment. Younger men are not considered to be at risk of an aneurysm so they are not included in the national screening programme. Men aged over 65 who have never been for AAA screening can refer themselves for a screening appointment by contacting NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88. Around 1400 men are expected to attend for AAA screening in Forth Valley each year.
What do patients think about the scan?
“Painless and very easy” That’s how Clifford Deans, the first patient in Forth Valley to undergo the life-saving ultrasound scan for men, described the process.
Mr Deans who lives in Doune, is pictured with sonographer Heather McLeod at Stirling Community Hospital. The retired finance director was given the all clear for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) and said he “felt a glow” knowing there was nothing wrong.
He said: “It’s quite an honour to have been the first man in Forth Valley to have one of these new scans. An aortic aneurysm is not something I ever worried about however most people wouldn’t realise that they had a problem and if there’s a simple test that can be done it can only be beneficial.”
Edwin Scott, who lives in Devon Village, Clackmannanshire was given the all clear for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) and said he ‘felt good knowing there was nothing wrong’
He explained: “We have just moved to the area and I received my letter which explained everything as it wasn’t something I was aware of. Its good to get involved in something like this rather than making an appointment and then finding out something is wrong. That’s it done now and prevention is always better than cure, as they say”.
Find Out More
For further information visit www.nhsinform.co.uk/screening/aaa or call the NHS inform helpline on 0800 22 44 88.