A-Z of services

AAA (Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm)

Coronavirus (Covid -19)

To ensure patients safety we have introduced new measures

These include: 

  • More time between appointments, to ensure extra cleaning procedures are completed
  • Social distancing measures within clinics, so unless you need assisstance, you will need to attend your appointment alone
  • Face coverings are required unless you are excempt for medical reasons. If you don't have your own mask we can provide one 
  • Hand sanitisers are available
  • All staff will be wearing personal pritectice equipment (PPE)

Please do not attend if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • A high temperature - you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • A new continuous cough - this means you've started coughing repeatedly
  • Loss or change to your sense of taste or smell

To re-arrange your appointment please contact the screening service on: 0191 445 8747

 What are abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs)?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA as they are commonly referred to; are a balloon like swelling of the aorta, the main artery leading away from your heart which passes through your abdomen. In some people as they get older the wall of the aorta weakens leading to swelling and bulging. It can be serious if it is not spotted early because it could get bigger and eventually burst (rupture). 


  • Around 1 in 92 men who are screened will have an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm  
  • Around 5,000 deaths each year in men aged 65 and over in England and Wales from ruptured AAA      
  • Deaths from ruptured AAA account for 1.7% of all deaths in men aged 65 and over

 Who is at risk?

Some people have a higher risk of getting an AAA including: 

  • men are six times more likely to develop an aneurysm than a woman. The chance of having an aneurysm increases with age. Two out of every three deaths from ruptured AAA in England and Wales occur in men who are over 65. 
  • people who smoke are15 times more likely to get an AAA 
  • high blood pressure can double your risk of getting an AAA 
  • you are four times more likely to get an AAA if a close family member has one or has had one

 What are the Symptoms of having an AAA? 

In most cases, an AAA has no noticeable symptoms. However, if it becomes large, some people may develop pain or a pulsating feeling (like a heartbeat) in their tummy or persistent back pain.

 If an aneurysm ruptures (bursts) it can cause:

  • sudden severe pain in the tummy or lower back
  • dizziness
  • sweaty pale and clammy skin
  • a fast heartbeat
  • shortness of breath
  • fainting or passing out

 AAA's often grow slowly without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. This is why the AAA screening programme was introduced, following research, which showed it could reduce the rate of premature death from ruptured AAA by 50% by detecting and treating large aneurysms before they burst. Around 1 in 92 men who are screened have an AAA. 

 AAA screening is a free NHS national screening programme that invites men aged 65 plus to attend an appointment to check if they have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The screening is by invitation and uses an ultra sound scan. If you are a man aged over 65 you are more likely to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm than any other demographic so this is why you will be invited for screening.

 Men over 65 who have not previously been diagnosed with an aneurysm can request a scan by contacting their local screening service directly on: 0191 445 8747

 The North East of England and North Cumbria AAA Screening Service is hosted by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital but you will be invited to a local clinic for an ultra sound scan. This service covers; North Yorkshire to Berwick and North Cumbria localities.

 The Lancashire  and South Cumbria AAA Screening Service is also hosted by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but you will be invited to a local clinic for an ultra sound scan. This service covers; West Lancashire to South Cumbria localities.


Download a leaflet with more information on the AAA screening process or download accessible AAA screening process leaflets


You can also view our video

The AAA screening team is made up of a multi disciplinary team including:

Clinical Director: Vascular consultant responsible for the screening programme.

Consultant Radiologist: Consultant specialising in the use of medical imaging for vascular conditions.

Screening Manager: The senior manager responsible for the leadership and monitoring of service quality for the AAA, Bowel and Breast screening programmes.

Programme Lead/CST: The senior ultrasound practitioner responsible for the daily management of the team, operation of the screening service, oversees quality and provides staff training.

Nurse Practitioners: Support men who have been given a diagnosis of AAA, through nurse assessment clinics and provides healthcare advice.

Screening Technician: This is the person who performs the ultrasound scan.

Administration Co-ordinator: Assists the Programme Lead with the operation of the screening service by ensuring invitations to eligible men are sent within national guidelines.

Administration staff: The admin team book/change appointments and deal with enquiries.

Health Improvement Practitioners: Responsible for promoting the service, improving uptake and helping to reduce inequalities.

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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