Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening

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 abdomen. In some people, as they get older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weakened. It can then start to expand and form what is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The condition is most common in men aged 65 and over.

Who is at risk?

Men are approximately six times more likely to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm than women. The chance of having an aneurysm increases with age. The risk of having an abdominal aortic aneurysm can also increase if: you are a smoker, you have hypertension (high blood pressure), your parent or sibling has, or has been treated for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

What is the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme?

The AAA Screening Programme is a national programme run by the NHS that offers free AAA screening to gentlemen aged 65 who are registered with a GP.

You can read more about what other screening is available on our Screening Timeline.

What if I missed out on AAA screening?

Gentlemen over the age of 65 who have not been screened, diagnosed or treated for an AAA in the past can request an appointment by contacting the AAA Screening Team on 01743 261048 or email us at sath.aaa@nhs.net with their NHS number.

How does the screening process work?

Gentlemen registered with a Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin GP will automatically be sent an invitation via the post in their 65th year. Where possible, the scan will be carried out in the gentleman’s GP practice.

Possible screening results

Usually, the screening result can be given immediately after the scan and your GP will also be informed of the result.
There are four possible results:

  • The majority of scans will show a normal aorta, these gentlemen are discharged from the programme and will not be invited for AAA screening again.
  • Men who are found to have small or medium sized aneurysms are invited back for regular scans to monitor the size and growth of the aneurysm.
  • Men with a larger AAA are referred to a specialist to talk about having the aneurysm repaired.
  • Occasionally, we are not able to see the aorta on the ultrasound scan due to technical limitations such as the presence of bowel gas, if that is the case we will need to recall the gentleman for a second scan.

More information can be found on the NHS Website.

Decision aid

65-year-old men who have been invited for aneurysm screening but are unsure if they want to attend are now being directed to the AAA screening patient decision aid to support informed decision making around screening. Men are directed to the interactive website from their screening invitation leaflet and the programme website.

Did you know?

  1. Around 85 out of 100 people will die if an AAA ruptures.
  2. There are no specific symptoms associated with an AAA.
  3. The Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin screening programme started in April 2012 and every year we invite around 3500 gentlemen to attend a screening appointment.
  4. Between April 2012 and March 2019 our local programme found over 300 gentlemen who have an aneurysm.
  5. In that time 56 local gentlemen have gone on to have a successful repair of their aneurysm and 190 are still on active surveillance.

Contact us:

If you would like more information contact us on 01743 261048 or e-mail sath.aaa@nhs.net