When abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is offered 

The risk of dying from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is greatest in men aged over 65. This is why the NHS AAA Screening Programme offers screening to men aged 65 and over.

Men are invited for screening during the year they turn 65 (April 1 to March 31). This means you’ll either be invited when you’re 64 or just after your 65th birthday.

If you’re registered with a GP, you will receive a letter from the NHS AAA Screening Programme inviting you for an appointment at a local screening clinic, which might be at your own GP surgery. If you don’t respond to this first invitation, you will be sent a second invitation within six weeks.

Men over 65 who haven’t already been screened can request a scan by contacting their local AAA screening service directly.

Why aren’t women or younger men screened?

Women and younger men are not invited for screening because 95% of ruptured AAAs occur in men aged 65 and over.

Men are six times more likely to have an AAA than women, and the chance of having an aneurysm increases with age.

All the risks and benefits are carefully studied before a new screening programme is introduced. This is to ensure that the benefits of being offered screening outweigh any potential harms.

The UK National Screening Committee reviewed scientific evidence from around the world and concluded that there is not enough evidence of the benefits of offering screening to women over 65 and younger men.

What if my family has a history of AAA?

Your risk of developing an AAA increases if you have a close family member  brother, sister or parent  who has an AAA or died from one.

If you have, speak to your GP about the possibility of being referred for a scan.

The usual advice is to have a scan when you’re five years younger than your relative was when the AAA was found.

Close relatives of someone with an AAA should take the usual health precautions of not smoking, having a cholesterol and blood pressure check, and staying as healthy as possible.

Find out what happens during screening.


Page last reviewed: 30/08/2014

Next review due: 30/06/2017