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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Thames Valley AAA Screening Programme

The Thames Valley AAA Screening Programme is a community-based screening programme covering Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire.

The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to your body; it runs down from your heart through your chest and abdomen. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the walls of the aorta weaken and expand. As the wall of the aorta stretches, it becomes weaker and can rupture, causing internal bleeding. Around 85 out of 100 people die when an aneurysm bursts. Men are six times more likely to have an aneurysm than women.

If you have an AAA, you will not usually notice any symptoms or be aware you have one. Screening finds aneurysms early so we can monitor or treat them.

Patients with a small aneurysm (3cm - 4.4cm wide) are screened annually; those with a medium aneurysm (4.5 - 5.4cm wide) are screened every three months.

Those with an aneurysm 5.5cm or bigger (only 1 in 1,000 men have a large aneurysm) have an appointment with a specialist team to discuss treatment (usually an operation).

The screening programme has been set up with the aim to reduce the number of deaths caused by AAA by up to 50 percent.

The screeners travel to GP surgeries and community hospitals and screen men in their 65th year, using a simple, painless ultrasound scan. One in 70 men scanned is found to have an AAA.

Risk factors for this condition include smoking, high blood pressure or close family history.

Our team

Clinical Lead

  • Photo not supplied
    Jeremy Perkins

Screeners

  • Trisha Bellinger
    Trisha Bellinger
  • Lesley Chick
    Lesley Chick
  • Alice Matthews
    Alice Matthews
  • Photo not supplied
    Emma-Jane Simons
  • Joanna Wojcik
    Joanna Wojcik
  • Photo not supplied
    Karen Hickey

Vascular Nurse Practitioners

  • Photo not supplied
    Jenny Buisan
  • Pam Davis
    Pam Davis
  • Photo not supplied
    Denise Hearfield

Programme Manager

  • Photo not supplied
    Carla Goddard

Administration

  • Tracey Mitchell
    Tracey Mitchell
    .
  • Donna Varghese
    Donna Varghese

Patient information

FAQ

Why have I been sent an appointment?

All men in their 65th year are automatically sent an invitation to an appointment.

I've never been invited for screening. Can I book an appointment?

The programme has only been running for a few years, only men who turned 65 in that time will have been automatically invited. We encourage men over the age of 65 who have not been screened to contact us directly to self-refer into the programme.

Where will I be screened?

There are a number of screening venues across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire (see our screening locations page). Please be aware we may only visit some sites a few times per year.

Why am I not being seen at my own GP practice?

Unfortunately we cannot attend every GP practice as they may not be able to offer us clinic space. We scan around 11,000 men annually and our screening clinics are set up at a variety of locations to offer appointments across Thames Valley.

Can I change my appointment?

Yes, please call us. We cover a large geographical area at a number of venues. We can re-schedule your appointment if you are unable to attend. Clinics start at 9.40am and run until 4.00pm.

Can I be notified of my appointment by SMS?

Not at the moment. We unfortunately do not have access to patient phone numbers.

What will happen at the screening?

It is a pain-free ultrasound scan (the same process as a pregnant woman has); simply a little gel on your tummy and a probe runs over your tummy. We will normally tell you your result straight away and send a copy to your GP. The appointment should last no more than 10 minutes.

There are four possible results from the scan:

  • No Aneurysm Present - discharge from NAAASP
    Most men are found to have a non-aneurysmal aorta. This means that the aorta is not enlarged. No treatment or monitoring is required and you will not be routinely called for AAA Screening again.
  • Small or Medium AAA
    T his means that the aorta is a little wider than normal. Aneurysms do not need treatment at this stage however you will be invited for regular monitoring scans as most AAAs grow slowly over time. You will also be offered an appointment with a Vascular Nurse Specialist.
  • Large AAA
    This means that the aorta is much wider than normal. Only about one in 100 men who are screened have a large aneurysm. Men found to have a large aneurysm will be invited to an appointment with a Vascular Consultant within two weeks to discuss treatment options.

I've had other scans recently, do I still need this?

Please contact us. Your other scans may not have covered the section of abdomen however we can arrange to check this.

Why aren't women screened?

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms are six times more common in men than in women.

Find us and contact us

General enquiries / booking appointments

Programme Manager

Carla Goddard: carla.goddard@ouh.nhs.uk

Inpatient queries

  • Ward 6A, John Radcliffe Hospital
  • Sister: Karen Fenn
  • Tel: 01865 221802

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