Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Sam's story of being treated for a large aneurysm 

Sam Ellicott talks about how he found out he had a large abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and then had open surgery to repair it.

More on treatment options for an AAA

Transcript of Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Sam's story of being treated for a large aneurysm

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

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NHS screening

Find out about the different types of screening offered by the NHS in England

Adominal aortic aneurysm screening

Find out who is offered AAA screening, why it's done, and what it involves