New scans available from NHS Tayside

ANGUS men are to benefit from an NHS scanning programme which hopes to cut down on a deadly condition.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) affect one in 20 men over the age of 65 in Scotland and a screening programme currently being rolled out by NHS Tayside and Fife hopes to save as many as 170 lives per year.

The aging process causes the wall of he aorta in the abdomen to weaken and balloon forming an aneurysm.

Most sufferers are unaware they have an AAA right up until it ruptures, and around 80 per cent of these are fatal.

What causes an AAA is unclear, although it is thought that high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol can add to the likelihood of it developing.

The screening programme will invite all men aged 65 for an ultrasound scan of their abdomen with the results being presented instantly.

Men over the age of 65 can self refer.

The screening will detect aneurysms of all sizes, and if necessary a patient can be offered an operation before a large aneurysm has a chance to rupture.

In the case of smaller aneurysms follow up scans will be offered along with advice on lifestyle changes to improve the condition of a patient’s blood vessels.

NHS Tayside consultant in public health medicine Dr Julie Cavanagh said: “I would hope that every man who receives an invitation for AAA screening will use the information provided to come to a decision about taking up this screening invitation.

“Screening for AAA is important as you are unlikely to have any symptoms, feel any pain or notice anything different and so may not be aware that there is a potential problem.

“Screening ensures that we find aneurysms early and monitor or treat them. This greatly reduces the chance of the aneurysm rupturing and causing serious problems.”

The first screening will take place on Monday at Kings Cross Health and Community Care Centre and will be rolled out across other centres in Tayside and Angus during the course of the year.