Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening allows any bulging or swelling of the aorta, the main blood vessel running from the heart down through the tummy, to be detected.
An AAA will often have no obvious symptoms, but if it is not detected early on it can increase in size and as the wall of the aorta stretches it becomes weaker and can burst (rupture). Severe internal bleeding that occurs due to a ruptured aneurysm can be fatal.
Risk factors include:
- Being Male
- Being older in age
- Having a high blood pressure
Screening can pick up an AAA before it bursts; the tests involve simple ultrasound scans that are quick, reliable and greatly reduce the risk of serious injury. If an AAA is detected regular scans will be recommended to monitor it, or surgery to prevent it bursting.
Men aged over 65 years are routinely invited to take part in the local AAA screening program; the prevalence of AAA in women and younger men is less than 2% and they are therefore not screened.
For more details see the leaflet: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
Any men aged 65 – 74 years who have not been invited can participate in the program by contacting the Screening Office on 200 07025.
Any men older than 75 years require a referral from the G.P. Similarly, any women or men under 65 years who think they are at risk of AAA (a close family member for example may have had one), should talk to their G.P. who may refer them to radiology.