AAA screening programmes have been set up in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
For more information, see:
- Northern Ireland: NI Direct AAA screening
- Scotland: NHS Inform AAA screening
- Wales: NHS Wales AAA Screening Programme
If you're a man over 65 and you have not been screened before, you can contact your local screening service to ask for a scan without going through a GP.
AAA screening is not routinely offered to women and men under 65 because most burst AAAs happen in men over 65. Men are 6 times more likely to have an AAA than women.
There's not enough evidence to suggest that routinely screening women and younger men would deliver major benefits.
But if you think you might be at an increased risk of getting an AAA because a close family member has had one. Talk to a GP about the possibility of having a scan to check for an AAA.
If the GP feels you might benefit from having a scan, it will usually be done when you're 5 years younger than the age at which your relative was when they were found to have an AAA.
If you have a family history of AAA, you should take the usual health precautions of not smoking, eating healthily and exercising regularly.
You may need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if you have an AAA. You may need to stop driving if it's large.
The DVLA says:
- car and motorcycle drivers must tell the DVLA if their AAA measures more than 6cm and stop driving if it reaches 6.5cm
- bus, coach and lorry drivers must tell the DVLA if they have an AAA of any size and stop driving if it reaches 5.5cm
You can usually drive again once your AAA has been treated. The GOV.UK website has more about how to tell the DVLA about an AAA.
Ask a GP if you're not sure whether you need to inform the DVLA about your AAA, or temporarily stop driving.
Having an AAA should not affect your car insurance premium.
It's safe to travel by plane if you have an AAA. They're no more likely to burst at a high altitude than on the ground.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has been advised of this and it's not aware of any airlines that refuse people with an AAA.
The ABI is unaware of any travel insurance policies that specifically exclude AAAs as part of their standard wording.
They suggest that anyone with an AAA should declare it during the application process (or when it's diagnosed, if you already have a travel insurance policy).
If you declare an AAA, you may be asked if you:
- have had surgery (and if so, when you had it)
- are on a waiting list for surgery
- have any other related health conditions
You may be charged an additional premium or have the condition excluded from your cover.
When looking for cover, a broker can help. The British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) operates a find a broker service that can help – they can be contacted on 0370 950 1790.
No. During the screening scan the technician only looks at your aorta to check if you have an AAA. They do not check for any other health conditions.
If you have any concerns about your health, speak to a GP.