A GRANDFATHER has become the first person to undergo surgery following a new screening programme that detects a potentially life-threatening condition.

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Bill Davies, of Gardenia Walk, Colchester, is now urging men to accept invitations to take part in the NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening programme.

“I feel very passionately that anyone who is invited to be screened should simply go for it,” he said.

“I had no idea I had an aneurysm until I was screened, but I’ve been told I probably had it for years. I didn’t have any symptoms, which I suppose is why they call it a ‘silent killer’.

“There will no doubt be people out there walking around with one of these things but who are totally ignorant of it. Therefore, I say if you’re given a chance to be checked out, take it,” he said.

“It now feels that I’ve got my wife back and my wife has her husband back – I’m enjoying life.”

Mr Davies, 65, said he particularly wanted to thank Mr Sohail Choksy, consultant vascular surgeon, and his team; the High Dependency Unit; and Wivenhoe Ward for the outstanding care and treatment they provided at Colchester General Hospital.

An ambulance technician in Colchester for 20 years, he and his wife Val have a son Ian, a daughter, Louise and an eight-year-old grandson, Jack.

The AAA screening programme was launched earlier this year in the Five Rivers Vascular Network Area, which covers the 750,000 population of east Suffolk, north east Essex and the Colne Valley.

All men are invited to their local hospital, GP surgery or health clinic in the year that they turn 65 for a simple 10-minute pain-free ultrasound test to see if they have an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

An AAA is a weakening and expansion of the aorta, the main blood vessel in the body that runs from the heart down through the chest and abdomen.

Large aneurysms are rare, but can be very serious. As the wall of the aorta stretches, it can become weaker and can burst. About 6,000 people in England and Wales die every year from a ruptured aneurysm.

Visit aaa.screening.nhs.uk for more details.

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