Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening in Sussex is part of a national AAA screening programme that is being rolled out across England, to detect this vascular condition. Aneurysms can occur in any blood vessel and one of the more common sites in the abdominal aorta. In some people, particularly older men, the walls of the artery weaken causing the blood vessel to expand and balloon out. If expansion continues, the artery walls continue to weaken and may eventually burst (rupture) which can prove fatal. The only current treatment is surgery where a graft is inserted and strengthens the artery wall. This usually lasts a lifetime and will not need to be replaced.

Rupture and emergency surgery is associated with a high mortality rate whereas early detection, surveillance and planned treatment can significantly reduce the death rate from this condition.

Research has shown that the condition affects men more frequently than women and the prevalence increases with age. Consequently the service is routinely offered to men in their 65th year and older men in the area can self refer. As the condition generally does not have symptoms until the condition is becomes critical, the aim of the programme is to identify the condition early and offer planned if necessary.

We provide a community based service and our team do ultrasound measurements of the aorta. The procedure in non invasive, harmless and quick and results are given at the clinic and GPs are notified of the outcome by letter. Appointments can easily be rearranged by contacting the screening office.

If the artery is wider than normal, we enter patients into a surveillance programme and offer repeat ultrasound scans at yearly or 3-monthly intervals depending of the size of the AAA. Patients are also offered an appointment with a vascular nurse specialist who will review their life style, medication and blood pressure measurements and make recommendations and offer additional advice and information if appropriate.

When and if the AAA reaches a critical size a referral is made to a vascular consultant who will arrange further investigations and may consider surgery.

Coverage

Brighton, Chichester, East Sussex, Hove, West Sussex

How To Access

Men in their 65th year are routinely contacted by the screening programme and offered an appointment. The screening programme is provided with details of men registered at GP practices in the area, and selection is based on date of birth. Older men who have not been screened before and who are registered with a GP in Sussex can self refer by contacting the screening programme office (telephone, letter or email). A mutually convenient appointment at one of the community based clinics can then be arranged.

If symptoms associated with an AAA develop between appointments (which may include severe back or abdominal pain), patients are advised to discuss these with their GP or attend a hospital accident and emergency department. If the screening team identify a significant problem, an urgent referral is made to the vascular surgery department and the patient will be seen at the next OPD clinic.

National posters and "Information for Health Professionals" are available from the AAA screening office.

Patient leaflets are available in various formats and in a wide range of languages and "easy read" versions. They are also available on the National AAA screening website

Contact Details

AAA Screening Office
Durrington Health Centre
Durrington Lane
Worthing
West Sussex
BN13 2RX

Tel: 01903 843834
Email SC-TR.sxaaascreening@nhs.net

Out of hours service: You can leave a phone message phone out of hours service on this answerphone number 01903 843834. We will contact you on the next working day.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm

How to find us

Directions and a map to each community screening clinic are sent out with every appointment, giving clear instructions of where the clinic is located, parking arrangements and where to go in the building.

More information

National AAA Screening website

National AAA screening programme office: 01452 318844

Vascular Society website www.vascularsociety.org.uk