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Derby man’s life saved by Triple AAA screening

Published 08/01/2014

A Derby man is celebrating the arrival of the New Year after life saving surgery. Derby Hospitals’ Triple AAA screening programme has saved the life of retired bus driver, Donald Beard. Abdominal aortic aneurysms, commonly known as AAAs, often go undiscovered and can have life threatening consequences.

A fortunate conversation with a nurse at the gym led to Donald putting himself forward for Triple AAA screening. During his scan in November, at Park Medical Practice, they discovered an aneurysm. He then underwent surgery the following month.

AAAs occur when the wall of the aorta, which is the main blood vessel in the abdomen, become weak. It then expands and forms an abdominal aortic aneurysm which, if left undetected, can burst and cause severe internal bleeding. They are most commonly found in men aged 65 and over, and about 6,000 people in England and Wales die every year from them. Men in their 65th year will automatically receive an invitation for screening. However, men aged 66 and over are encouraged to self refer.

Derby Hospitals are ranked top in the country for AAA screenings in men aged 66 and over, with 1,331 men screened between April and November last year.  Additionally, 87% of the people who were invited to be screened took up the opportunity.

The screening process itself is relatively easy. David Miller, screening manager for Derby Hospitals, said: “It’s a really simple process which takes 10 minutes and we can give an answer there and then – if there is no aneurysm, then you don’t have to worry about seeing us again.” If an aneurysm is discovered the process that follows is reasonably quick.

Derby Hospitals’ consultant vascular surgeon and clinical director of the screening programme, John Quarmby, said: “The majority of those who go for surgery can be discharged within a week of the operation. Some who have keyhole surgery can be discharged within three days. We’re a leading centre for this sort of surgery and we really try to be proactive about this issue.”

For more information about AAA screening contact 01332 789859 / 783485, to self-refer you will need to have your ten digit NHS number. Alternatively email dhft.AAAscreening@nhs.net, or visit www.derbyhospitals.nhs.uk/about/depts/aaa

Last Modified 08/01/2014