Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening is now available in MPHC The 4th Practice in conjuction with Affidea
What is an AAA?
The aorta is the main vessel carrying blood around your body. In some people, especially older men, the wall of the aorta gradually weakens and starts to expand. See diagrammatic illustration below.
Is an AAA serious?
Large AAA are rare, but can be very serious. As the aorta expands it can burst, and the person usually dies. Small/medium sized AAA are not as dangerous, and your consultant vascular surgeon will arrange ultrasound monitoring to see if it gets bigger.
Is Screening for AAA important, and why are you invited?
Most people with AAA have no symptoms. A simple painless ultrasound scan of your tummy will tell if you have an AAA. We are inviting men only, as AAA are six times more common in men than women. Ruptured AAA mostly happens to men. You also are more likely to have an AAA if you you smoke, have high blood pressure or your parent, brother or sister had an AAA.
How common are AAA?
Approximately 1 in 25 men, aged 65y-79y, have an AAA.
What do I do next? How can I arrange the ultrasound scan?
If you would like more information, or want to take part in this initiative please make an appointment with your GP. Your GP will provide you with more information about the ultrasound scan. The scan cost is Euro 90-100, and is not covered by the Medical Card. You will be liable for a consultation charge with your GP, as this initiative is not covered by your medical card. You will have a choice of where to have the scan: your GP will explain where the scans are available. Your GP will get the scan result within a few days, will advise you of the result and arrange any follow up.
What will the scan show?
There are four possible results from the scan.
- Normal: Aorta less than 3cm wide. Most men have a normal result. No further treatment or scans are EVER needed.
- Small AAA found: (Aorta 3 – 4.4 cm wide) Your GP will arrange an appointment with a consultant vascular surgeon within 3 months.
- Medium AAA found (Aorta 4.5-5.5cm wide) Your GP will arrange an appointment with a consultant vascular surgeon within 3 months.
- Large AAA found (Aorta 5.5cm wide, or bigger). Only about 1 in 100 men have a large AAA. Your GP will arrange an early appointment, within 4 weeks, with a consultant vascular surgeon.
What happens if I have a small or Medium AAA?
You don’t need any treatment at this stage. Most AAA slowly get bigger. It is important to have repeat scans to monitor the AAA. Your consultant vascular surgeon will arrange this. Your GP will advise on checking your blood pressure, and help smokers to quit.
Will the scan pick up other problems, and is it reliable?
The scan is very reliable at picking up AAA. It does NOT pick up other problems (like bowel cancer). There are no risks from the scan.
What should I do now?
If you would like to discuss this with your GP please make a special appointment.
You can also find more information about AAA online: aaa.screening.nhs.uk/