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Male screening for 'silent killer' is closer.

THE first men-only national screening programme in Wales for a potentially lethal condition has come another step closer.

Public Health Wales is planning to introduce screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) for men aged 65.

It has announced the NHS Wales Informatics Service will extending the current IT system, which includes bowel screening, to include a module for AAA screening. This will help support the screening programme. An AAA is a swelling of the aorta - the main blood vessel carrying blood from the heart to the body. They are six times more common in men than in women.

AAA is often known as a silent killer because there are no obvious symptoms. But when blood runs through a weakened aorta, the pressure can cause it to bulge outwards like a balloon and rupture or split.

This can cause significant internal bleeding and around 85% of cases will result in death.

Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms account for 2.1% of deaths in men over 65 in Wales. In 2008, there were 282 deaths as a result of a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm in Wales and around 8,000 people die in the UK of this condition each year. It is estimated screening men can prevent about half of these deaths.

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* Abdominal aortic aneurysms can cause internal bleeding
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 1, 2011
Words:218
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