Last Friday Karl met up with Paul Skelton, a City of Lincoln Constituent, to discuss the latter’s experience of learning he had developed an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA).
An AAA is a swelling (aneurysm) of the aorta – the main blood vessel that leads away from the heart, down through the abdomen to the rest of the body. The abdominal aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body and is usually around 2cm wide – roughly the width of a garden hose. However, it can swell to over 5.5cm – what doctors class as a large AAA.
Two weeks after retiring, Mr Skelton was invited to go for AAA Screening at Nettleham Medical Practice, where it was discovered he had an aneurysm, of a size which was causing concern (5.1cm). He was routinely checked every three months from then on. Within several months the aneurysm had grown to 5.5cm, which is the stage at which intervention is required and an operation necessary.
AAAs are most common in men aged over 65. A rupture accounts for more than 1 in 50 of all deaths in this group and a total of 6,000 deaths in England and Wales each year. This is why all men are invited for a screening test when they turn 65. The test involves a simple ultrasound scan, which takes around 10-15 minutes.
Karl McCartney JP MP, Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, said: “I am really grateful to Paul for taking the time to contact me about his Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm and to his daughter, Becky Skelton, who originally advised her father to flag this illness with me.
“Large aneurysms are rare, but can be very serious. If a large aneurysm bursts, it causes huge internal bleeding and is usually fatal.
“I would, therefore, strongly advise all men over the age of 65 to take advantage of the screening test available to them.
“The test takes less than 15 minutes to complete and may well save your life.”
City of Lincoln Constituent, Mr Paul Skelton, said: “I have always enjoyed good health, so learning that I had developed an AAA and was living with a possible fatal condition came as a huge surprise.
“It is known as ‘the silent killer’ as there are no symptoms. It can burst at any time with no time to seek medical attention and be fatal.
“My operation was performed by the Medical Team at Boston Pilgrim Hospital who I can’t thank enough for their professional and amazing care. They gave me my life back when the outlook could have looked very bleak".
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-NOTES TO EDITORS-
What is an aneurysm?
An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall.
As blood passes through the weakened blood vessel, the blood pressure causes it to bulge outwards.
Exactly what causes the blood vessel wall to weaken is unclear, though hardening of the arteries, smoking and high blood pressure are thought to increase the risk of an aneurysm.
Aneurysms can occur anywhere in the body, but the two most common places for them to form are in the abdominal aorta and the brain.
A burst abdominal aortic aneurysm is also a medical emergency and is usually fatal.
More information about the symptoms, causes, diagnosing, treating, prevention and screening of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms can be found here.