Men over 65 get new health screening test

All men over 65 will be offered a free test to check for abdominal aortic aneurysms from 1st May 2013. The condition is life-threatening if left undetected.

'I didn't realise that I had anything wrong'

Gordon Lewis
Gordon Lewis had surgery to repair an aneurysm Credit: Wales AAA screening programme

Accepting an invitation from his GP for abdominal scan when he turned 65 years old proved to be a life-saving decision for Gordon Lewis.

The retired coal miner from Abercwmboi was found to have a large abdominal aortic aneurysm and within a week of having the scan was undergoing surgery.

The married father of three said, “I didn’t realise that I had anything wrong with me as I had no symptoms and had been feeling fine so when they told me they had found an AAA it was a real shock."

Mr Lewis, who has two grandchildren, made a good recovery from the operation and within six weeks was completely back to normal.

He knows how lucky he was and is determined to encourage other men to take up the offer to the scan.

New test 'could really help save your life'

All men over 65 in Wales will be offered a free test to check for a life-threatening condition called abdominal aortic aneurysm. It's six times more common in men than women and ruptured aneurysms led to 246 deaths in Wales in 2010.

The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. Sometimes, as people grow older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak and stretch to form an aneurysm. When this happens there is a risk that the aorta may split or tear.

There are no signs and symptoms of having an AAA so most men with one will know nothing about it until it ruptures, and their chances of surviving will sadly be very poor.

The screening programme aims to reduce this risk by providing men with a simple, painless ultrasound scan that will detect whether an AAA is present.

The screening takes only a few minutes but it really could help save your life.

– Lylwela Wilson, Head of the Wales AAA Screening Programme

Letters will start being sent out from 1st May 2013 to all eligible men.