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First all-male screening planned

The Scottish Government has announced the rolling out of a screening programme that could save at least three men a week from a "hidden" killer.

All men aged 65 are to be offered an ultrasound scan to detect the presence of the life-threatening condition known as aortic aneurysms.

The move, to begin from 2011, was announced by health secretary Nicola Sturgeon who said it should save the lives of at least 170 men a year.

Scotland's first male-only screening programme will cost £2.5m a year to run, and £5m will be spent over the next three years on setting it up.

The condition is a ballooning of part of the aorta within the abdomen. The main risk from it is a rupturing of the aneurysm, causing death in 85% of cases.

Announcing the plan, Ms Sturgeon said: "Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a hidden killer which mainly affect older men, most of whom will be unaware that they have the condition.

"Sadly, the first sign of a problem for many men will be when the aneurysm ruptures and, by that time, it's often too late - despite the best efforts of our health service.

"But a simple ten-minute scan can detect the aneurysm, enabling treatment to begin and saving hundreds of lives each year."

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