Men in Norfolk and Waveney to benefit from new screening programme

All 65-year old men in Norfolk & Waveney can now benefit from screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (also known as AAAs) as part of a new national screening programme. Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has introduced the first NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme in the East of England and men are now being invited to various screening locations in the community across Norfolk and Waveney.

An estimated 80,000 men aged between 65 and 74 are affected by the condition, which is caused when the main blood vessel in the abdomen – the aorta- weakens and starts to expand. If undetected, the condition can be fatal and around 6,000 men die every year in England from a burst Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. Men who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm will not generally notice any symptoms, which is why screening is so important.

The new NHS AAA Screening Programme will reduce deaths from the condition by up to 50 per cent by detecting AAA’s early and offering appropriate monitoring or treatment. Men aged 65 and over are most at risk from the condition so invitations for screening are being sent out to men in the area in the year they turn 65.

Mr Matthew Armon, NNUH Consultant Vascular Surgeon and lead for the NHS AAA Screening Programme in Norfolk and Waveney, said “I am delighted that men aged 65 in Norfolk and Waveney have the opportunity to take part in this screening programme. A simple ultrasound scan of the abdominal aorta is carried out and the aortic diameter is measured. The screening test takes less than 10 minutes, is highly effective and men receive their result immediately. Vascular disease is as common as cancer and heart disease and I therefore strongly encourage everyone offered the opportunity to participate”.

Men who are older than 65 and have never had screening or treatment for an AAA can request to be screened by contacting their local programme on 01603 288218 or email the programme co-ordinator Sarah Pond at

For more information please visit the national programme website at:

Notes for editors

1. The NHS AAA Screening Programme sets national standards and protocols for the delivery of local screening services and co-ordinates the implementation of the programme across England
2. The programme has been introduced following research evidence showing that a population-based screening programme, using ultrasound scanning, for men in their 65th year would be effective in reducing mortality from ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms
3. There are three possible results from the scan:
– Most people have a normal result: this means the aorta is not enlarged and no further treatment or monitoring is required
– If a small aneurysm is found it means the aorta is a little wider than normal and men are invited back for regular scans to monitor the condition
– If a large aneurysm is found it means the aorta is much wider than normal. Only a very small number of men have this result. Those who do are given an appointment with a specialist team to have further scans and talk about possible treatment
4. Men who are over 65 and have never been invited for AAA screening can self-refer for a scan by contacting their local screening programme

Monday 23rd of April 2012 09:00:56 AM