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Date: 20 September 2021
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme
Story posted/last updated: 14 May 2018
The NHS Central England Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme is a service based at Heartlands Hospital, with screening taking place across approximately 40 community clinics.
AAA screening is a way of checking if there is a swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your abdomen. This swelling is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This can be serious, even fatal, if it is not spotted early, as it can grow in size and eventually rupture. Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious. As the wall of the aorta stretches, it becomes weaker and can burst, causing internal bleeding. Around 85 in 100 people die when an aneurysm bursts.
The condition is most common in men aged 65 and over. NHS screening invitations will be sent to men when they turn 65 and those over that age can request a scan. Screening involves a simple ultrasound, which usually lasts less than 10 minutes. Kim Reading, Central England Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme Manager, says: “You will not usually notice any symptoms when you have an aneurysm so it is important to be screened, as detecting an aneurysm early greatly reduces the chances of it causing serious problems.”
Around one in 70 men who are screened have an AAA.
The programme also accepts self-referrals from all of the listed CCG areas - Birmingham South and Central, Solihull, Sandwell and West Birmingham, East Staffordshire, South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula. The programme always refers patients with a large AAA to the closest site to the patient’s home, or patient’s preference.
Men’s Health Week is 11 – 17 June and members of staff from the AAA Screening Programme will be hosting an information stand in the atrium of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday 14 June.
For more information on AAA and the screening programme, visit the NHS website via the link below or talk to your GP.
To self-refer yourself to the service, please contact the screening team:
Tel: 0121 424 3612 / 0121 424 1200
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