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Ultrasound scan could save lives of men aged over 65

15 August 2016

Health Care

Southend University Hospital is hosting abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screenings as part of a National Screening Programme for men in their 65th year.

The hospital is leading the screening initiative for the whole of Essex and screens 8,000 men a year.

The process involves a quick ultrasound scan to detect any weakening or bulging of the abdominal aorta which is called an aneurysm. 

It's a service only open to men as they are six times more likely to have an AAA than women.

This condition mainly affects men between the ages of 65-74, it is symptom free and, although rare, large aneurysms can be fatal as they can eventually burst and cause internal bleeding.  Around 85 out of 100 people die when an aneurysm bursts. 

Belinda Sheridan, AAA Screening Technician, explained: "The test is quick, painless and could potentially save a person's life; it is certainly worth the 10 minutes it takes to have your abdomen scanned.

"If we find an abdominal aortic aneurysm early we can either monitor it or treat it to avoid the aneurysm causing serious problems. Results are given immediately to the patients and a letter confirming the result sent to the patients GP."

The Essex programme commenced screening three years ago so men aged 68 and over may have missed out on the scan and.

Men over 65 years of age can phone the above number with their GP address and NHS number, which can be found on any prescription, and also self-refer. 

Although AAA team is based at Southend University Hospital, screenings takes place at various clinics, GP surgeries and hospitals across Essex. Call 01702 385 559 to find your nearest screening site.