Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme

The NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme is delivered by local programmes throughout England. The South Devon and Exeter AAA Programme is managed from an office at Torbay Hospital, but covers a large area of Devon. Screening clinics are held throughout the area at local GPs and community hospitals.

The office is manned Monday to Friday, 9am – 4pm.

Tel: 01803 655441
Email: South Devon AAA Screening

What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)?

Aorta with an aneurysm
Aorta with an aneurysm

In some people, as they get older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak. It can then start to expand and form what is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

The condition is most common in men aged 65 and above. It is estimated that around 1 in 25 men aged between 65 and 74 in England have an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious. As the wall of the aorta stretches it becomes weaker and can rupture. If this happens, the person usually dies.

Why is screening important?

People who have an aneurysm do not generally notice any symptoms.

We offer screening so we can find aneurysms early and monitor or treat them. This greatly reduces the chances of the aneurysm causing serious problems.

Who is invited for screening?

Men in the South Devon area are invited for screening during the year that they turn 65. Men over 65 years can be screened on request and the service is free. To request an appointment please telephone 01803 655441, making sure you have your current NHS number and GP details handy.

The screening process involves a simple, pain-free ultrasound scan of the abdomen. The test is very quick and usually lasts less than 10 minutes.

Men are told their result straight away and their GP is also informed.

Factors that can increase the risk of developing AAA are:

  • Sex – Males are more likely to develop this condition
  • Age – more common over 65 years of age
  • Smokers
  • Those with AAA in a first degree relative
  • High blood pressure
  • Little physical activity
  • High cholesterol
  • Overweight

Also see: NHS population screening: information for trans and non-binary people.

Individuals are normally excluded from the programme if they:

  • Have had one normal result already
  • Have undergone AAA surgery
  • Are under 65
  • Are female
  • Have requested that they be permanently removed from the AAA Screening programme

Or if their GP has advised that they would be inappropriate to offer screening because of terminal illness or very severe physical or mental health problems.

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