A British surgeon recently reported that men aged 65 and over can cut their risk of premature death by simply having an ultrasound scan, typical used for pregnancy monitoring.
Dr. Gareth Morris, a consultant vascular surgeon from Southampton General Hospital (UK; www.uhs.nhs.uk), reported that a simple 10-minute stomach ultrasound scan could diagnose or rule out abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), which are responsible for 5,000 deaths – chiefly among older men – in England and Wales annually.
The disorder, which develops when the main blood vessel in the body weak-ens and expands, can be monitored through routine monitoring or fixed with surgery, but undetected large aneurysms (5.5 cm or more) can rupture and prove fatal in the majority of cases.
However, Dr. Morris said, the recent UK rollout of a screening program he helped to develop – the NHS [National Health Service] Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Program – could decrease the current death rate by 50%.
“There are so many avoidable deaths from abdominal aortic aneurysms and it is a real tragedy because we know a quick scan will save lives through either monitoring or corrective surgery, but timing is everything. The condition is often symptomless, so I would strongly advise men to consider the offer of a screening test, which is a simple scan similar to that offered to women in pregnancy, particularly if they are in a high risk group,” he stated.
Men are six times more likely than women to develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm, with current or former smokers, high blood pressure sufferers, or those with close family history (parent or sibling) of the condition most at risk.
Although the program launched in the United Kingdom in early July 2013, the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight AAA Screening Program, led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, is already in its second year of operation.
More than 8,000 men underwent abdominal aortic aneurysms ultrasound across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight last year, with 18 referred for surgery to repair aneurysms of 5.5 cm or more.
Justin Sanders, AAA screening coordinator, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said, “While we had a very successful response to our invitations in the first year, there are many more men, particularly around the central Southampton area, we would like to see to either rule out the condition or diagnose and begin monitoring or treatment.”
At Medic Center, HCMC, Vietnam, using ultrasound to detect AAA had been conducted from 1990 and this topic was in training program for doctors of ultrasound every year.