AAA Screening

The NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme (AAA screening) aims to reduce deaths from ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms through early detection, appropriate monitoring and treatment.

Men in their 65th year are automatically invited for an ultrasound scan.

If you, or a family member or friend, are male and over the age of 65 and have not yet been screened you can refer yourself into the screening programme by contacting our office on 01603 288218.  We will take some details from you over the phone such as your name and date of birth, home address and registered GP, we will also ask you for your NHS number.  If you do not know your NHS number please contact your GP who will be able to provide this for you.

The screening programme scans across the Norfolk and Waveney region in selected GP surgeries, community hospitals and health centres.

What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to your 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 weak.  It can then start to expand and form an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  The condition is most common in men aged 65 and over.

Are they serious?

Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious.  As the wall of the aorta stretches it becomes weaker and can burst, causing internal bleeding.  Around 85 out of 100 people die when an aneurysm bursts.  An aorta which is only slightly larger than normal is not dangerous.  However it is still important to know about it so that we can check if the aneurysm is getting bigger.  If you have an aneurysm you will not usually notice any symptoms.  This means you cannot tell if you have one, will not feel any pain and will not probably notice anything different.  We offer screening so we can find aneurysms early and monitor or treat them.  This greatly reduces the chances of the aneurysm causing serious problems.

How common is the condition?

Around 1 in 92 men who are screened have an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Who is at risk?

Men are 6 times more likely to have a AAA than women, which is why women are not offered screening.  The chance of having an aneurysm increases with age.  Your chance of having a AAA can also increase if:

  • you are or have ever been a smoker
  • you have high blood pressure
  • your brother, sister or parent has, or has had, an abdominal aortic aneurysm  

For more information or to request a screening test: