About 6,000 persons die from an abdominal aortic aneurism each year with the overwhelming majority being male and over 65. Until recently tests were only available privately - at a cost. However in an attempt to reduce mortality by at least 50% the N.H.S. initiated a national screening programme in 2009 to screen for these aneurysms. There are now over 40 screening programmes covering England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
All males in their 65th year are invited for screening. Only men are screened in this programme, as men are 6 times more likely to have this type of aneurysm, than women. According to the N.H.S. website, (http://aaa.screening.nhs.uk/) as many as 1 person in 25 in the at risk group has some weakening of the aortic wall, this is about 4% of men in the age group 65-74.
Those who were over 65 when the scheme started in their area, and those gentlemen over 65 years now will not be invited for screening, but can refer themselves for inclusion in the Screening Programme. The Coventry and Warwickshire Screening Programme visits over 50 GP's surgeries across Warwickshire, and screens Coventry residents at the City of Coventry Health Centre. The scan itself utilises ultrasound to scan the aorta, this is quick and pain-free, and usually lasts less than 10 minutes.
Gentlemen who wish to be invited for a scan may do so by contacting Emma Wright at the Screening Programme office at St. Cross Hospital, Rugby, on 01788-663428. Please have your 10-digit NHS number to hand when calling, (this number may be obtained from your GP's surgery, and may be found on a repeat prescription form)