Aortic aneurysm

What is aortic aneurysm screening? 

This is a way of seeing whether there is swelling in the aorta. An aortic aneurysm can become serious if it is not seen early and risks the possibility of bursting. 

Who’s screened for aortic aneurysms? 

The most common category for aortic aneurysms is men aged 65 or over. For this reason, this vulnerable category is offered a screening the year they turn 65.  

Women, men under the age of 65, and people who have already had treatment are not routinely offered a scan. However, you may request a screening test.  

Why is screening done? 

If the aortic aneurysm is found before it becomes too big, and before it bursts, this will give you a much greater chance of survival. 

8 in every 10 people who have a burst aortic aneurysm die, therefore, it is important that it is found as early as possible. 

An aortic aneurysm screening uses an ultrasound scan of your abdomen. 

You will be asked to lie on the bed and the medical staff will then put a clear gel on your tummy and use a scanner over the skin. 

The images will be projected onto a screen where your technician will measure the size of your aorta. 

The gel will then be wiped off and you will be able to return home. 

No aneurysm - If the aorta is less than 3cm wide, it is not enlarged.  - You will need no treatment if this is the case. 

A small aneurysm - This will be measured between 3cm and 4.4cm. - You will not need any treatment as it is still small but you will be invited back for a scan every year.  

A medium-sized aneurysm - This will be measured between 4.5cm and 5.4cm. - You will have no treatment but you will be invited back every 3 months for another scan. - You will be given advice on how to keep the aneurysm small including dietary issues.

A large aneurysm - This will be measured as 5.5cm or larger. - You are likely to have surgery if your aneurysm is this big. Understandably, surgery can be daunting, however, having this surgery will serve as a smaller risk than allowing the aneurysm to possibly burst.