What it's like being diagnosed with a large AAA...
My name is Barry. Two years ago I was offered the opportunity to have a scan under the NI AAA Screening Programme. I must admit I was not overly keen. I was reasonably fit, working every day, and in no pain or discomfort. To be honest, I read through the literature and decided this was not for me, I felt great. On the day of my scan, as luck would have it, I found myself within a hundred yards of the medical centre close to my appointment time and decided to give it a go. The screening was over within ten minutes, nothing more that lying on a bed and rolling your shirt up to expose your stomach. The staff were extremely friendly and explained the whole procedure to me. When the scan was finished, I was found to be one of the few to have a large aneurysm. What all this meant was explained to me in detail, and I was told what would happen next. Two hours later I was contacted and an appointment set up to visit the hospital two days after that for a pre-op assessment. This I attended. Everything was explained to me in great detail and numerous tests made. I finished the day in the company of my surgeon, who answered any questions or concerns I had, and I was given a likely date for my operation. I had by now realised how serious a large AAA is and how, if left unattended, it could affect my quality of life. As I said earlier, my lifestyle was reasonably active, I enjoy the outdoors, walking, and enjoyed my work, with no intention of retiring. Without my undergoing surgery, all this could cease.
I decided to go ahead and two days later I presented myself at the hospital and the following day my operation was over.
I am glad to say it was a 100% success.
Six days after this I was on my way home, still a bit uncomfortable, but nevertheless able to get on with my life and, after a month convalescing, returned to my daily routine.
I have no doubt my attending the scan when I did saved my life.
It is so simple, it shows over 98% of men over 65 as not having an aneurysm.
If asked to attend an AAA Screening Programme scan, please take advantage of this opportunity, no matter how good you feel. It only takes ten minutes…
2015 Service User Event
The NI AAA Screening Programme recently held its third Service User Event for individuals who have benefitted from attending for screening. This year, the event was held in the main hall of Knockbracken Healthcare Park. As in previous years, the half-day session took the form of a workshop, which lasted from 9.30am to 1pm.
It was well attended by both service users and programme staff. Fifty attendees enjoyed updates on programme performance and developments from key members of the screening team. Mr Peter Bullick, one of the programme’s three service user/patient representatives, also gave a very well received talk on his experience of being diagnosed and treated for a large aneurysm, detected through the screening programme.
Participants further learned about the progress which had been made on suggested areas for improvement from the 2014 Service User Event. In addition, men who had attended for screening, and their companions, were given the opportunity to feed-back on their own experience of the programme – both individually and via small group discussions – to members of the programme team.
As at the 2013 and 2014 events, attendees were also encouraged to suggest future areas for improvement for the programme team to consider in the coming year. The event concluded with a question and answer session and a light lunch. Participants will also, in due course, receive a comprehensive summary of the findings of the morning's discussions.
What to expect when you go for your AAA screening appointment
Mr Paul Blair, a consultant vascular surgeon, talks about the Northern Ireland Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme. He explains what you can expect when you go for your screening appointment and how the screening programme can save lives.