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Monday 21st May 2018

Push for artery screening

7th November 2007

A specialists’ group is calling on the government to start a new screening programme in the UK.


The Vascular Society wants all men in their mid-60s to be screened for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, which causes one of the body’s main blood vessels to weaken and burst.

It is the third most common cause of death for older men but few outside the medical profession are aware of the condition.

The society wants to see checks introduced and say it would save up to 3,000 lives a year.

The abdominal aorta carries blood to the intestines and other organs nearby but aneurysms are common in this part of the body. When they burst, most patients are dead before they receive emergency care.

Doctors at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London are launching their own screening programme.

Vascular surgeon Matthew Waltham, who expects to see about 40 patients a week from two boroughs in south London, said: “Screening is relatively simple. All that is involved is a straightforward ultrasound scan.

“We hope this pilot service will increase detection and early treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms to help save lives and reduce the burden on hospital time and resources.?

However, the Vascular Society, which represents specialists in this area, wants to see such schemes offered everywhere.

The Department of Health said work is in progress to assess the implications of implementing AAA screening in England but it would have to consider the impact on existing healthcare services and staffing requirements.


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