Four out of five men attend potentially life-saving AAA screening

The latest annual report published for the Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme (WAAASP) shows that uptake of screening increased last year with four of out of five men invited taking up their offer of screening. 

However, one in five eligible men invited for the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) test did not attend. 

The report show that of the 16,487 men invited for screening between April 2018 and March 2019, 13,328 attended.

Of those screened, 141 individuals had an AAA detected.

Llywela Wilson, Head of WAAASP, said:

“AAA are rare but can be fatal if not detected in time.

“Not every AAA will rupture, but if it does, the chances of getting to hospital and surviving surgery are very poor. It is estimated that around 85 per cent of people with a ruptured AAA will die, and that many of these will die before reaching a hospital.”

AAA screening aims to detect bulging or swelling of the aorta (the body’s main blood vessel) in the abdomen that if not detected early could rupture which, in many cases, can prove fatal.

Men aged 65 who live in Wales and are registered with a GP are offered a one-off AAA screening test.

From 1 May 2015 men aged over 65 years have also been able to contact the local screening offices to request screening. 

The test involves a simple ultrasound scan which is carried out for free in community clinics across Wales.

In the period covered by the report, 57 men were referred to specialised vascular services following screening. Forty-nine men had open or endovascular surgery. 

Taking part in AAA screening is an individual choice. An information leaflet and webpage are available to help eligible men decide whether to take up the test. 

The full WAAASP Annual Report 2018-19 is available to download from the Public Health Wales website below. 


Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme Annual Statistical Report 2018-19