AAA is a swelling of the main blood vessel in the body, the aorta, which can weaken and expand and is most common in men aged 65 and above. There are usually no symptoms and if left untreated the aneurysm can rupture and cause internal bleeding often with fatal consequences. Screening involves a simple ultrasound scan which looks for weaknesses and enlargements of the aorta.
Graham White, aged 74 from Wath-upon-Dearne, attended the screening clinic held at his local Tesco store, having been told about it by his sister-in-law, Mavis Rimmington.
Graham booked his appointment and attended on the day feeling fit and healthy and even doing his grocery shopping beforehand. He was therefore surprised to be told during his appointment that a large aneurysm had been detected and he was referred for further tests where a date for surgery was arranged. A normal aneurysm is usually less than 3cm wide, Grahams measured 6.9cm. Graham underwent his surgery at Doncaster Royal Infirmary in November 2018.
Graham takes up the story: “I’d never heard of AAA until my sister in law told me about the local clinic, it fills me with dread thinking I was walking around with a large aneurysm which could have been a ticking time bomb. Looking back now I had felt a pulsating feeling in my tummy which would have been the aneurysm but I thought nothing of it, I feel very lucky. I want to also say a big thank you to all the staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary who took excellent care of me during the 10 days I spent in hospital.”
Babatunde Fakolade, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw AAA Screening Programme Manager, said: “If an undetected aneurysm expands, the artery becomes weak and may rupture which can be life threatening. As most people don’t have any signs or symptoms this shows how important attending screening is as this 10-minute ultrasound scan can detect AAAs and potentially save lives. Thank you to Tesco for supporting the screening programme allowing the team to screen local men at such a convenient location.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re glad to hear that the valuable work of this NHS screening clinic helped to diagnose Mr White’s aneurysm. We will continue to host the clinics and are grateful for the work of their team.”
The screening team can visit local communities and events to deliver clinics. If you are part of a group of men over the age of 65 and would like us to deliver the screening to your group please get in touch. The test is quick and easy and could potentially save lives. Men over 65 who have not previously been screened can self-refer by contacting the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw AAA Screening Programme on 01709 649100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.