SCREENING PROGRAMMES
ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM

PATIENT EXPERIENCE: SAM ELLICOTT,
OPEN SURGERY REPAIR

BOOKING A SCREENING
APPOINTMENT

I was totally unaware of
this screening programme

and it was only because
I heard a radio interview

and on that they gave out
a phone number that I could ring.

I just thought this is something
I must do something about.

Fortunately, I managed to keep the
number to one side and give it a ring.

Got an appointment quite quickly,
a cancelled appointment.

That was just to go along for the scan.

The scan was pretty straightforward

in that I was just taken through to an
examination room and lay on a couch.

Didn't have to get undressed or anything
much more than just pull my shirt up.

Then I was given the ultrasound scan,

which is very much like they do
with pregnant ladies.

Very straightforward, not unpleasant
in any way and only 10 minutes.

LARGE ANEURYSM DETECTED

After I'd done that,
I sat down with the screener

and she told me that I had
a large abdominal aortic aneurysm

and I needed to be seen
by a consultant surgeon

to discuss the treatment options.

TREATMENT

The consultant felt that
he needed some further tests

to establish whether
I was suitable for a stent,

which is a much less invasive procedure.

After I saw him one week later,

he said that he was only really going
to be able to repair by open surgery.

It was all described to me very fully.

The advice there was that this operation
was going to be required

and I didn't really hesitate.

I just felt that it was something
that was going to be saving my life

and a delay was just not on the cards.

I didn't want to be sitting around
worrying about it for a long time

before anything was done.

There was an opportunity to do it
the following week to the consultation.

So very quickly.

Hardly time, in fact,
to put one's affairs in order at all.

It was happening before
I had taken breath, really.

RECOVERY PERIOD

I was at home and very tired
for a long time afterwards.

But I was encouraged to get out
and walk and exercise.

But I would say that for about
the first two or three months

I didn't have the same energy
that I had previously

and I was gradually building that
back up.

Then by sort of four or five months

I could say, "This is where I was
before I started. I'm back to normal."

I'm feeling now that the work that's
been done is more of a permanent nature

and that I don't have to think that
something might go wrong with it.

It's going to last a long time,
it's going to see me out, perhaps,

and it's just a joy to know that
I don't have to worry about it at all.

SCREENING PROGRAMMES
ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM