NNUH celebrates NHSs 65th birthday with life-saving screening for 65-year-old men
A new screening programme that will prevent hundreds of premature deaths is now available to all men aged 65 and over in Norfolk and Waveney and throughout England on the 65th anniversary of the NHS.
Around 5,000 people, most of them older men, die in England and Wales every year from abdominal aortic aneurysms, which are formed when the main blood vessel in the body weakens and expands. The NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme aims to prevent around half of those deaths.
Norfolk and Waveney AAA Screening Programme invites men for screening during the year they turn 65, while men over 65 who have not already been screened can arrange an appointment. Large AAAs can be very dangerous because they can burst a medical emergency that is usually fatal. Men are six times more likely than women to have an AAA, which is why only men are screened.
Mr Matthew Armon, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the NNUH and director of the Norfolk and Waveney Screening Programme said: It is particularly pleasing today, 65 years on from the creation of the National Health Service, to see 65-year-old men in Norfolk and Waveney benefitting from the latest evidence-based NHS screening service.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a major killer of older men and usually have no symptoms. Screening is important because it can prevent many avoidable deaths by spotting aneurysms early, so they can be monitored and treated if necessary.
The screening test is a simple non-invasive ultrasound scan, similar to that offered to women in pregnancy, it only takes around 10 minutes and you receive your result straight away. Screening clinics are held in the community throughout Norfolk and Waveney; your local programme office will be able to advise you of your nearest screening venue. I would urge all men aged 65 and over in Norfolk and Waveney to consider seriously the offer of screening, especially if they are in a high risk group.
The risk of having an AAA is higher if you:
Smoke or have ever smoked
Have high blood pressure
Have a close relative (parent or sibling) who has had an AAA
All men whose 65th birthday falls on or after 1 April 2013 will automatically be invited for screening. Men over the age of 65 who have not previously been screened can contact their local screening programme office on 01603 288218/288217 or email the administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment. You will need to provide your NHS number, this is a 10 digit number which is printed on your NHS medical card, if you are unable to locate this number your GP will be able to provide it for you.
The NHS AAA Screening Programme is part of Public Health England, the expert national body that aims to protect and improve the nations health.
For more information please visit the national programme website at http://aaa.screening.nhs.uk
Notes for editors
Patients Dr Govind Mohan and Trevor Crisp, both from Lowestoft who have taken part in this screening programme are available to be interviewed about the importance of taking part in this screening programme.
Large abdominal aortic aneurysms, also known as AAAs or triple As, can be very dangerous because they can burst a medical emergency that is usually fatal.
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
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