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Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Low-cost private ultrasound scan from UK Radiology

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What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm? aneurism, AAA, scan, screening

An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal enlargement of the main artery that carries blood from the heart. Such aneurysms may rupture with catastophic effect when they reach a large size. There is plenty of detailed information on aortic aneurysms available on the internet. If you want to learn more, an article from the Mayo Clinic in the USA is worth reading.

How are aneurysms detected? screening private ultrasound scan 

Almost always by chance.  Aneurysms are usually discovered during scanning for other conditions or on x-rays of the back but large aneurysms may be felt or even be visible in thin individuals. Ultrasound scan is a quick, accurate and harmless way of detecting abdominal aortic aneurysms and assessing the risk of future rupture.

Who should be screened? private AAA screening UK radiologists

A single normal ultrasound scan at age 65 or older is sufficient to indicate that a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm will not be a risk during the remainder of an individual's life.
The US government has recently published its recommendations. You can read a summary of the
US aneurysm screening recommendations here.

The UK government has now also approved a screening program for the UK but it is unlikely to be widely available until 2011 and then only offered to men reaching their 65th birthday.

Based on the scientific evidence we strongly recommend an ultrasound scan in men 65-75 years who smoke, or have previously smoked, and in men over 60 years with a strong family history of aneurysm or cardiovascular disease.


Male non-smokers in the 65-75 age group have a 50-70% lower risk of aneurysms, but, although state-funded screening may not be cost effective, we also suggest this group should have a scan, if only for reassurance. 

Ruptured aneurysm is rare in women and there is no scientific evidence of benefit from screening.

Arrange a scan Hereford, Worcester, Shropshire, Powys, Gwent, Gloucester, Droitwich, Malvern, Midlands, UK

We offer a no-wait private scan, Monday to Friday lunchtimes or early evening (5pm), at the x-ray department, County Hospital, Hereford.  Please phone 01432-364454 or email info@aortascan.co.uk to choose a convenient appointment.

There is no preparation and you do not need to be referred by a doctor but you will need to supply your doctor's details and bring a means of payment. The NHS does not currently pay for this service and we make a charge of £50 payable by cheque only to the Hereford Radiology Group at the time of the scan. This fee covers the cost of an ultrasound scan of the abdominal aorta by a consultant radiologist, a report for you to keep or give to your GP and a recommendation for any further actions that may be required.  The fee supports Hereford Hospital NHS Trust and benefits all our patients.

Please do not use this service if you have symptoms or are concerned about other conditions. This service is for aortic scanning only; if we see anything else of concern we will tell you and your doctor but this service is not intended to assess the whole abdomen. We will be happy to carry out full abdominal ultrasound scan and we also have CT and MRI scanning facilities but please contact us first to discuss your problem.

Last updated: 5th March 2008

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