Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a weakening and expansion of the aorta, the main blood vessel in the body. Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious.

What is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakening and expansion of the aorta, the main blood vessel in the body. Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious. The condition is most common in men aged 65 and above.

Who is invited for AAA screening?

All men are offered an appointment for screening in the year they turn 65. However men over the age of 65 who have not yet been seen are welcome to self-refer for an appointment. Men are six times more likely than women to suffer from an AAA. 95% of ruptured AAA’s occur in men aged 65 and over.

Who is excluded?

  • Anyone who has had a normal result already
  • Women
  • Any man who has already had an AAA repair
  • Any man who is under surveillance elsewhere for an AAA
  • Any man who has requested to be permanently removed from the programme

Where is screening carried out in Lincolnshire?

AAA screening is carried out at the four main hospitals in Lincolnshire and also at certain GP surgeries.

What does screening involve?

The screening involves a simple ultrasound scan of the gentleman’s abdomen. The abdominal section of the aorta is scanned and measured. The appointment can take anywhere between 10 -20 minutes depending on the result. The man will receive his results straight away after the scan is finished and their GP is also informed.

Why is AAA screening so important?

AAA screening is important because the patient will not notice any symptoms if they have an aneurysm. An aneurysm can be monitored and treated if found early, greatly decreasing the chances of it causing any problems. A quick ultrasound scan is an ideal method of diagnosing an AAA. Ruptured AAA deaths account for around 2.1% of all deaths in men aged 65 and over. This compares with 0.8% in women of the same age group. The mortality from rupture is high, with nearly a third dying in the community before reaching hospital. Of those who undergo AAA emergency surgery, the post-operative mortality rate is around 50%, making the case fatality after rupture around 80%. This compares with a post-operative mortality rate in high quality vascular services of around 2% following planned surgery

Risk Factors

    The chances of having an AAA can increase if:

  • You are a man over 65
  • You have smoked or still smoke
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have a family history of AAA
  • You have high cholesterol
  • You do very little physical activity
  • You are overweight

Results of screening

Between April 2014 and May 2015 a total of 64 AAA’s were diagnosed in the community, of these 64 aneurysms:
50 were measured between 3cm and 4.4 cm (12 monthly surveillance)
6 were measured between 4.5cm and 5.4cm (3 monthly surveillance)
8 were measured over 5.5cm (referral to a vascular consultant)
Of these 8 large aneurysms found, 100% of the patients were seen by the vascular consultant within two weeks.

Find out more here:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm-screening/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm-screening/Documents/AAA_screening_patient_decision_aid_printable_version_January_2014.pdf

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening information

For more information on AAA please contact the administration team on 01205 445801 or e-mail ulh-tr.aaascreening@nhs.net.