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Health talk at Birmingham hospital to raise awareness of potentially deadly condition

A top surgeon at a Birmingham hospital is set to host an enlightening talk later this month on a condition which can prove fatal if left untreated.

The latest health seminar held by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust will be on the topic of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms and will be led by consultant vascular surgeon at the Trust, Mr Mark Gannon,

An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (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.

Large aneurysms are rare, but can be very serious. Because many do not have symptoms, people may not be aware they have an AAA until they fatally burst. However, a simple ultrasound scan can detect these serious blood vessel swellings.

Invitations to attend a free AAA screening are automatically sent to all men in England aged 65+ since a now UK-wide screening programme started in 2009. Those over this age who have not previously been screened can contact the programme to arrange a free scan.

Mr Gannon said: “It is important to raise awareness of AAAs and the screening programme so men over the age of 65 take the opportunity to be screened so we can pick up AAAs before anything happens. It is quite a simple procedure that can done to treat it before it ruptures, which can be extremely serious if it happens.

“In the talk I will look to cover what an aneurysm is, why we are running a screening programme, how screening works and who it is for, techniques of treatment, complex aneurysms and a look at the results the Trust has achieved in treating AAAs.

“I hope the talk will be really useful to a wide range of people, from those men around the age where the screening programme will be of benefit, to those with a husband or father who could be affected now or in the future.”

The talk will take place in the Education Centre at Heartlands Hospital on Wednesday 21 June, between 5pm and 7pm.

To book your place on the seminar please contact Sandra White, membership and engagement manager at the Trust, on 0121 424 1218 or email

The Trust runs 10 health seminars a year to help raise awareness of a range of health conditions, as well as providing information about the treatment and support that is available.

Visit to find out more about upcoming seminars and about becoming a member of the Trust.

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