Screening lifesaver

John Watson, of Methley. Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening patient
John Watson, of Methley. Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening patient

A METHLEY man has become the first to be treated for a potentially fatal condition under a new health screening programme.

John Watson, 65, discovered he had an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) when he took part in a new screening programme introduced across Wakefield and Kirklees earlier this year.

Mr Watson, of Pinfold Lane, underwent surgery for the condition at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and is full of praise for the service and his treatment.

He said: “I was glad I attended the screening at the surgery, as within a few minutes of being scanned it was discovered I had an aneurysm. I was unaware of it, as I had no symptoms and I’m relatively fit and active.”

The screening service takes place at GP surgeries and consists of an ultrasound scan to detect potential AAAs, which tend to occur on older people, when the wall of the aorta – the main blood vessel running from the heart to the chest and abdomen – weakens, which can cause it to form an aneurysm. If left undetected, a large aneurysm may burst and cause fatal internal bleeding.

Screening, by Central Yorkshire AAA Screening Service, is being offered free to all men in the year they turn 65 – women are much less commonly affected and are not included in the screening programme.

Mr Watson was screened at Pinfold Surgery in Methley, and when his aneurysm was discoverd he was referred to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s vascular and endcovascular department for further tests and surgery.

He added: “Accepting the invitation to attend the AAA screening programme was particularly beneficial to me as my aneurysm was large, and there was a risk that it could have ruptured.

“I was impressed by the prompt action of the surgical team at the hospital, who quickly arranged for me to have an operation. I would encourage anyone who receives a letter from their GP inviting them to go for AAA screening to take it up, as an undetected aneurysm could prove fatal.”