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AAA screening for walking footballers

23 December 2018

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The Spireites Trust weekly walking football session had a welcome guest earlier this month, as Helen Hearnshaw and Chris Smith from the NHS Derbyshire Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme joined the players for a check-up during matches.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is caused when the main blood vessel in the body weakens and expands and if left untreated, aneurysms can grow and rupture. Eight out of ten people with a ruptured AAA die before they reach hospital, hence the importance of the visit to the walking football session.

Helen sai: “The clinic at Dronfield was undoubtedly a great success with 23 men over the age of 65 requesting to be scanned. The walking footballers made us feel very welcome and I felt that the service we provided was very well received.

"Statistics prove that all men over 65 should accept the screening programmes invitation to have a scan or, if they were born before April 1947, should self-refer. No one is immune to this silent killer and a simple five-minute scan can literally save a life."

Ian Edmundson, secretary of the walking football group, said: “It’s a win-win situation for us; if one of the guys has a scan and it’s clear then great, if someone does have an aneurysm, it’s great that Helen’s been able to make them aware of a potentially life-threatening condition that likely would have gone untreated otherwise.

"We would like to thank Helen and Chris for taking the time to come and check us over. It is a simple, pain-free test taking five minutes and the guys feel better for knowing their aorta is functioning okay."

Keith Jackson, activities manager at the Trust, added: “The significance of Helen’s visit can’t be underplayed.

"Having spoken to a lot of the guys who play, most shrug-off any symptoms of illness, so by having the check-ups take place at a convenient time and place, we could potentially have saved someone’s life today. A huge thanks to Helen and Chris for enabling this to happen."

For more information about the Derbyshire Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme, or to request a scan, please contact the team on 01332 783 485, email, or visit their website:

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