After the scan:
- the person who carried out the ultrasound will tell you your result straight away
- you'll be sent a result letter in the post
If you have an aneurysm, your GP will be sent a copy of the result letter so they can discuss your results with you.
Most men have a normal result, which means:
- no aneurysm was found
- you won't need any further investigations or treatment
- you don't need to be screened again, as it’s very unlikely you'll develop an aneurysm that needs treatment
Small, medium or large aneurysm
If your result isn't normal, it will show whether you have a small, medium or large aneurysm.
These don't require treatment but will be monitored.
Small or medium aneurysm
If your aorta's a little bigger than normal, you'll test positive for a small or medium aneurysm.
Most aneurysms grow very slowly, and many men with a small or medium aneurysm never need treatment. However, it's important to check the size of the aneurysm regularly to monitor any growth as you may need treatment if it grows into a large aneurysm.
To monitor growth, your local screening centre will invite you for an ultrasound scan every:
- 12 months for a small aneurysm
- 3 months for a medium aneurysm
A health professional will also tell you what you can do to stop your aneurysm getting larger.
A large aneurysm means your aorta is much bigger than normal. Only a very small number of men will have a large aneurysm.
Large aneurysms are uncommon but can be very serious. As the wall of the aorta stretches, it becomes weaker, and it could rupture (burst). If the aneurysm ruptures, this leads to life-threatening internal bleeding and, in 8 out of 10 cases, death.
Your local screening centre will refer you to a specialist consultant, who'll:
- carry out more tests
- provide more detailed information
- discuss possible treatment with you, including surgery
You'll usually see a consultant within 4 weeks.
Treating a large aneurysm
The operations available to treat large aneurysms also have risks, and can sometimes result in serious complications, leading to death. However, it's known that operations on large aneurysms found through screening have a much lower risk of death than if the aneurysm ruptures on its own.
The risks of rupture and surgery vary from person to person. If you have a large aneurysm and surgery is a treatment option, a surgeon will explain in detail the risks of:
- leaving the aneurysm untreated
- having the operation to treat the aneurysm
If surgery isn't possible, there may be no other appropriate treatments.
If you've been diagnosed with an aneurysm, and have unusual or unexplained abdominal or lower back pain:
- phone your GP now
- phone the 111 service if your GP surgery is closed
When you phone, tell the health professionals you've an aneurysm and have been referred for assessment.