adult screening programme

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

An aneurysm occurs when part of an artery swells. It is caused by a damaged blood vessel or a weakness in the blood vessel wall. The pressure of blood in the artery causes it to 'balloon' out at the weak point. An aneurysm can rupture if not treated or monitored. This can lead to internal bleeding and death.

Read more about abdominal aortic aneurysms on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in August 2017.

Screening for this condition is recommended.

The UK NSC recommended that AAA screening could be offered to men aged 65 because:

  • the ultrasound scan used to find aneurysms is very reliable and it is very rare for a man who has had a normal result to develop a large aneurysm
  • once identified, AAAs can be monitored or treated, greatly reducing the chances of an aneurysm causing serious problems in the future

This was provided that:

  • the men invited were given clear information about the risks of surgery to repair an aneurysm
  • steps were taken to create networks of vascular surgical services

Evidence is that women should not currently be invited for screening as they are 6 times less likely than men to have an AAA and the risks of inviting them outweigh the benefits.

Supporting documents from the 2017 review

Evidence summary AAA (2016)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses AAA (2016)
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Screening around the UK

The UK NSC recommends screening for this condition, however this may vary slightly depending on where you are in the UK.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2017

Next review estimated to be completed: 2021 to 2022.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Abdominal aortic aneurysm

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.