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AAA screening programme rated positive by 100% of clients

07 February 2019

The abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening programme – run by Southend University Hospital since 2013 – has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from men whose lives have potentially been saved or extended by the service.

The AAA team carried out the survey between October 2018 and January 2019 and 100% of clients rated their screening appointment as being a positive experience overall and would recommend the service to other eligible men.

Other comments included: 'staff polite and knowledgeable', 'useful and informative', 'efficient, friendly and satisfying', 'very worthwhile' and 'the service was perfect, everything completed and advised professionally'.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a bulge or swelling in the abdominal section of the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from the heart down through the chest and tummy and AAAs account for a total of 6,000 deaths in England and Wales every year.

The NHS AAA screening programme (NAAASP) is offered to all men during the year in which they turn 65 years of age and this service is delivered across Essex by Southend University Hospital's AAA Screening Programme.

Dr Matthew Tam, Lead Ultrasound Clinician, Essex NAAASP, Consultant Interventional Radiologist and Clinical Lead, said: "The team can be very proud that those screened report such high levels of satisfaction with the Essex-wide programme. Aneurysm screening is really important as early identification and treatment of aortic aneurysms means that death from ruptured aneurysms is decreased significantly".

This programme operates from 20 tactically positioned locations across Essex and the majority are GP surgeries and community hospitals such as Southend University Hospital and Saffron Walden Community Hospital.

Dario Gibelli, AAA Screening Programme Manager, added: "To appreciate the importance of our service, you just have to look at the survival rates of men who have been screened - mortality rates following AAA rupture are much higher compared with 30‐day mortality rates for elective surgical repair of non‐ruptured AAAs."

The AAA screening programme team at Southend University Hospital have been inviting men in their 65th year since 2013 to be routinely scanned for an AAA. For any men who turned 65 prior to 2013 and have not received screening they can self refer by calling 01702 385559 ensuring to quote their NHS number.

The AAA Screening Programme Team (pictured):

Front row (l-r): Linda Sheppard, Deborah French, Lorraine Newton, (AAA Screening Technicians)

Back row (l-r): Mr James Brown (Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Associate Programme Director); Dario Gibelli (AAA Screening Programme Manager); Dr Matthew Tam (Lead Ultrasound Clinician, Essex NAAASP, Consultant Interventional Radiologist and Clinical Lead), Mr Mike Salter (Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Programme Director), Erin Davies (AAA Team Administrator).