Ten-minute scan could save 170 lives in Scotland each year
A TEN-minute ultrasound scan which could save the lives of 170 men each year is to be rolled out across Scotland.
The one-off scan for men aged 65 can detect those at risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture.
In Scotland, around 5 per cent of men aged between 65 and 75 are believed to be vulnerable to the “hidden killer”.
If the scan is normal, the chance of an aneurysm occurring in the future is extremely low, officials said. However, figures show that when an aneurysm ruptures, up to 80 per cent of patients will die.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the first sign of an aneurysm in most cases was a rupture. The Scottish Government said that by finding and treating abdominal aortic aneurysms early, the programme could save 170 lives every year.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a hidden killer which affects one in 20 men in Scotland, most of whom will be unaware that they have the condition.
“Sadly, the first sign of a problem for many men will be when the aneurysm ruptures and, by that time, it’s often too late. If left unscreened, more than eight in ten ruptures can prove fatal. But a simple ten-minute scan can detect the aneurysm, enabling treatment to begin and saving hundreds of lives each year.
“Dealing with potential illness as soon as possible not only means that lives are saved, it also means an efficient NHS.”
The procedure involves a simple ten-minute scan of the abdomen and it will take place at local screening centres. Patients will get their results immediately and either be discharged, given surveillance or referred for treatment.
Men entering, or who are in, their 65th year will receive an invite to attend a screening appointment in their local area. Men over this age who would like to be seen can refer themselves to their local abdominal aortic aneurysm screening office. Ministers describe the programme as “cost neutral” because, although it will cost around £2 million a year, fewer emergency operations will have to be performed.
The programme, which has already been trialled in the Highlands, will be in place across Scotland by December next year.
Murdo Murchison, of Muir of Ord, Ross-shire, was screened as part of the pilot programme in 2002. He was checked annually after he was found to be at moderate risk, and has been monitored every three months more recently.
Dr Murchison said: “AAA is potentially serious and so it was very reassuring for it to be detected in the first instance and then to be monitored in such an efficient way.
“When I first went to be screened I had no idea there was anything the matter with me. I had no symptoms then and I have no symptoms now. It is a condition you are completely unaware of and this is why the screening is so important.
“I would really encourage any man invited to take part in screening to participate. The screening itself is very simple, non-invasive and takes less than five minutes.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west