Why should I have my Aorta examined?
The aorta is a blood vessel that goes from your heart down to your abdomen. In some people, it can swell. This is called having an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The aneurysm can be dangerous if it’s not discovered in time. You won’t normally notice that you have an aneurysm. It’s normally discovered if your abdomen is examined for other reasons.
If you don’t discover the aneurysm in time, the aorta can rupture, leading to severe internal bleeding. If this happens, you will need treatment and surgery immediately. It’s a difficult major operation with many risks. To avoid this happening, we’re inviting you to an examination.
We only call men to the examination as it’s more common for men than for women to have an aneurysm. The risk of having an abdominal aortic aneurysm is also greater, the older you are.
We’ll schedule an appointment for you
We’ll schedule an appointment for you the year you turn 65. You’ll get a letter with information ahead of your appointment.
The letter will tell you
• when to come
• more about the examination
• more about abdominal aortic aneurysms
Having this examination is your decision. Most people only need to be examined once.
How the examination is done
We’ll examine your abdomen, using ultrasound, and you’ll be able to see how your aorta looks on a screen. The examination is not dangerous, and does not hurt at all. The entire visit will take around 15 minutes.
The results of the examination
You’ll be told the results straight away at your appointment.
If you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, we can make an appointment for you with a vascular (blood vessel) specialist. You decide whether you want us to make the appointment. The specialist will tell you more about the condition, and you’ll be able to ask questions. You’ll also learn who to contact if you have questions or concerns after the examination.
Very rarely, the results of the examination are not certain enough. If this happens, we’ll examine you one more time.
Have any questions?
Please contact your primary care centre if you have any questions. You can also call 1177. You can contact us even if you are not planning to be examined.