Abdominal aneurysm scans offered for men over 65

A SIMPLE scan to detect a condition that affects one in 20 men aged 65 across the region is now being offered by NHS Borders as part of Scotland’s first male-only screening programme.

Men aged 65 are being invited to attend a screening appointment to receive an ultrasound scan which can detect abdominal aortic aneurysms, a condition that can affect the main artery in the abdomen.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a hidden killer which affects one in 20 men in Scotland, most of whom will be unaware that they have the condition.

“Sadly, the first sign of a problem for many men will be when the aneurysm ruptures and, by that time, it’s often too late – if left unscreened, more than 8 in 10 ruptures can prove fatal.

“But a simple 10 minute scan can detect the aneurysm, enabling treatment to begin and saving hundreds of lives each year. Dealing with potential illness as soon as possible not only means that lives are saved, it also means an efficient NHS.”

Dr Tim Patterson, NHS Borders Consultant in Public Health, added: “This programme has the potential to save many lives, as the condition usually goes undetected until it is too late.”

“An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakening in the wall of the aorta, the main blood vessel which takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

“If the wall ruptures, it is usually very sudden and if you do get to hospital in time, it will be very hard to repair.”

“The aneurysm can take many years to develop and without the scan, you probably won’t know if you have it until it is too late, but if it is found early on, it can be treated.”

An ultrasound scan is a simple, painless test that can detect an aneurysm, with results made available instantly after the scan.

If a small or medium aneurysm is found, regular scans will be offered to monitor the size. If a larger aneurysm is found, a referral will be made to vascular services.