Men in South Tyneside aged over 65 are being urged to attend their appointment for a potentially lifesaving scan, after nearly a fifth failed to turn up in the last year.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening is a free NHS national programme that invites men in the year they turn 65, to attend a quick and painless 10 minute ultrasound scan.

The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to your body. It runs from your heart down through your chest and abdomen.

In some people, as they get older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak. It can then start to expand and form what is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

The condition is most common in men aged 65 and above, men are six times more likely to have an aneurysm than women and the risk of having an aneurysm increases if you are or have been a smoker, you have high blood pressure or you have a close family member who has had one.

If you have an AAA you will not usually notice any signs or symptoms; this means you cannot tell if you have one, will not feel any pain or notice anything different. Large aneurysms are rare but can be very serious. As the wall of the aorta stretches it becomes weak and can burst, causing internal bleeding. Over 80% people will die when an aneurysm bursts.

In 2020-21, 120 Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAAs) were detected by the North East and North Cumbria AAA Screening Service. But 3,554 men in the region failed to attend their appointment, including 158 (19%) from South Tyneside.

All men will receive an invitation through the post when eligible to attend a clinic local to where they live. Please DON’T ignore it.  It could save your life!

If you need to rearrange your appointment give the North East and North Cumbria AAA Screening Service a call on 0191 445 8747.

For more information visit

Watch NHS Gateshead’s AAA Video: