Sheffield man encourages other men aged 65 and over to attend life saving scan
Accepting an invitation to attend a health screening has proven to be a life-saving decision for one Sheffield man.
Paul Scholey received an invitation to an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening in the post earlier this year, just before he turned 65.
He felt well and no cause for concern, but after reading the information leaflet he still attended, and was shocked to be told he had an aneurysm that measured over 9cm.
An AAA is a swelling of the main blood vessel in the body, the aorta, which can weaken and expand and is most common in men aged 65 and above.
Paul chose to have screening at a local GP Practice and was shocked to be told at his appointment he had a large aneurysm and was urgently referred to Northern General Hospital for treatment.
He said: “I felt fit and well prior to my scan so when I was told I had a large aneurysm measuring 9.1cm it was a real shock.
“If I had ignored my invite and the aneurysm had burst I dread to think what would have happened.
“I had surgery within the week. I feel really lucky and urge other men not to ignore their invitation.”
There are usually no symptoms of an aneurysm and, if left untreated, they can rupture and cause internal bleeding often with fatal consequences.
Screening involves a simple ultrasound scan which looks for weaknesses and enlargements of the aorta.
The national NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme invites all men in their 65th year to attend an screening, which is a quick and painless ultrasound scan which only takes a few minutes.
Babatunde Fakolade, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw AAA Screening Programme Manager, said the scan is quick and painless, and it can be life saving.
“The screening programme aims to reduce this risk by providing men with a simple, painless ultrasound scan that will detect whether there is an aneurysm
“The scan only takes a few minutes and saves lives.
“We would encourage all men who receive an appointment for the screening to take up the offer for this quick, free and very important scan.
“There are no signs and symptoms of having an aneurysm so most with one will know nothing about it until it ruptures, which can cause life threatening bleeding.”
About eight in every 10 people who have a burst abdominal aortic aneurysm die before they get to hospital or do not survive emergency surgery to repair it.
Although this can happen to anyone, there are steps that people can take to reduce their risk of developing an aneurysm in the first place.
These include giving up smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and taking regular exercise.
People are also at a higher risk of an aneurysm if a close family member has been diagnosed as having one.
Screening is not routinely offered to women, men under 65 and people who have already been treated for the condition.
This is because the risk of an aneurysm is much smaller in these groups.
If you are male aged 65 or over and have not had an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening, or an invitation for one, please contact the team on 01709 649100.
You can still ask for a scan to check for an aneurysm if you think you might need one but have not been offered a screening test. There are 36 locations across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.
For more information about the scan, please go to aaa.dbh.nhs.uk.