The UK’s national abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening programme is fast approaching its 10th anniversary—a milestone that Akhtar Nasim (Sheffield Vascular Institute, Sheffield, Sheffield, UK) and Meryl Davis (Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK) believe provides an opportunity for reflection on progress made, and consideration of future challenges.
In this interview with Vascular News—conducted at the 2022 Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland (VSGBI) annual scientific meeting (23–25 November, Brighton, UK)—Nasim and Davis look back on how much has changed with regard to AAA screening in the UK. According to Nasim, a “huge amount of progress” has been made in the years since the MASS study on aneurysm screening was published in 2002. In 2008, the UK Department of Health introduced the AAA screening programme, which became fully operational five years later. Now, a decade on, Nasim and Davis report positive results in terms of mortality and cost-effectiveness.
Davis acknowledges that there have been obstacles along the way. She notes that since late 2021, for example, the restoration of services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing challenge. In addition, Davis emphasises the importance of increasing uptake for AAA screening in general, especially among men from deprived communities. “We have to work together with those communities to reassure them,” Davis urges, highlighting steps being taken on a national level to address this issue.