5 Successful Years of the Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme

The Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme is completing 5 years since its inception in May 2013. The latest figures indicate that between May 2013 and March 2018 >75,500 men were screened and 905 AAAs were detected using the screening programme.

5 Successful Years of the Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme

The Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme is celebrating its fifth birthday this month with a series of events across the country.

Between May 2013 and March 2018, the programme screened more than 75,500 men and detected 905 abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Of these, 140 men have been referred to vascular services for treatment.

To celebrate its success, the Wales AAA Screening Programme is holding birthday parties across Wales featuring stories from men whose lives have been saved.

An AAA is a swelling of the aorta – the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. An AAA can split or tear, causing serious blood loss. When they do rupture, they are usually fatal and account for around 230 deaths a year in Wales.

However, more than 96.5 per cent of AAA patients recover with planned surgery if they are screened in time. The test is a simple, non-invasive ultrasound of the abdominal aorta.

All men in Wales are invited for screening when they are 65 and uptake is 80 per cent.

Llywela Wilson, Head of the Wales AAA Screening Programme, said:

“The Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme was the first male-only national screening programme. Since our launch on 1 May 2013, four out of five men have attended for their AAA screening ultrasound scan.

“Before the programme, there were only three local AAA screening programmes across Wales. By merging them into one national programme, we have ensured that all 65-year-old men living in Wales and registered with a GP are offered screening.

“Our achievements are not only attributed to Public Health Wales and the programme staff but also to the men who have attended for their scan, GP practices, health board vascular specialist teams, medical imaging departments and the estates teams in departments that provide screening premises.”

Screening is currently offered to men in South Wales prisons and will be extended to men in Berwyn Prison, North Wales, by the end of the year. There are also plans to offer screening to men in long-term care.

In May 2015, the Wales AAA Screening Programme started to offer screening to men over 65 who have not previously been screened by an NHS AAA screening programme. Men can contact their local office to ask for an appointment:

  • South East Wales: 01443 23 51 61
  • West Wales: 01792 45 31 62
  • North Wales: 01492 86 35 63

The Wales AAA Screening Programme is one of eight screening programmes run by Public Health Wales.

 

Source: AAA Screening Wales