AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) screening can detect swellings in the largest blood vessel in the body, the aorta. This can start to swell as you get older, particularly if you have had high blood pressure. There are usually no symptoms from a AAA until the swelling gets so large that it bursts. This causes rapid major internal bleeding and is usually fatal.
The screening test is a simple painless ultrasound scan which measures the size of the aorta. If it isn’t enlarged, you don’t ever need to be tested again. If it is enlarged, you’ll be either monitored regularly for any change in size, or if it is very large you will be referred to see a specialist who can discuss the option of surgery to repair the swollen aorta. This reduces the risk of it rupturing.
AAA is much more common in men than women, so men are invited for screening at 65 years old. Women are not currently routinely screened for AAA.