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Staffordshire and South Cheshire men urged to come forward for free life-saving UHNM screening service

Staffordshire and South Cheshire men are being encouraged to attend life-saving Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening provided by University Hospitals of North Midlands.

The AAA screening service, based at community based locations, checks the aorta, which is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the body, for weakening or widening, using simple ultrasound scanning.

The wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak and stretch to form an abdominal aortic aneurysm. There is a risk that an AAA may split or rupture putting a patient at a high risk of dying.   

The screening service is available to all men aged over 65 and recently provided screening to 29 men at the Masonic Hall in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Tony Berry, 90, who is a member of the organisation, Stoke-on-Trent Freemasons, approached the team to arrange a screening day after losing friends due to AAA rupture.

Tony Berry, from Seabridge, said: “I have lost four of my close friends due to AAA ruptures, two were in their 70’s, another friend was 80. The youngest was 65 and underwent the operation for repair but sadly died.”     

“The good news is that two days after the AAA screening at Shelton Masonic Hall a fifth friend under-went a successful AAA repair and was at home three days later having had no problems and feeling fine. The AAA screening is non-invasive and free to anyone over the age of 65 who requests it.”

Finding an aneurysm early gives patients the best chance of treatment and survival.  

Jenny Greaves, UHNM Screening Programme Manager said:  “This was an extremely successful event where, with the help of Tony and his colleagues, we were able to identify and scan 29 patients for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA’s). 

“Every year we offer free NHS AAA screening to over 7,000 gentlemen turning 65 years old in Staffordshire and South Cheshire and routinely hold clinics in community venues, such as GP surgeries.  For patients born before April 1947 (prior to when our local service started) or those that were not registered with a GP in England when they turned 65, will not have received an invite, but are still eligible for screening.  Patients assigned male at birth but registered with a GP as female are not routinely invited but can also self-refer to request screening.

“We would like to encourage anyone who would like to know more, or who is unsure whether they are eligible for screening to contact the programme.”