Aneurysm screening programme set for roll-out
A screening programme that aims to spot men at risk of a potentially fatal condition is to be rolled out across Scotland.
Men aged 65 will be offered a scan for signs of an abdominal aortic aneurysm in an effort to cut death rates.
In Scotland about 5% of men aged between 65 and 75 are believed to be at risk.
Figures indicate that when an aneurysm ruptures, 50%-80% of patients die despite access to medical treatment.
Ministers said the programme could save 170 lives a year by finding and treating aneurysms early.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "Abdominal aortic aneurysms are a hidden killer which affects one in 20 men in Scotland, 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 - if left unscreened more than 8 in 10 ruptures can prove fatal.
"But a simple 10-minute scan can detect the aneurysm, enabling treatment to begin and saving hundreds of lives each year."
The programme's annual running cost will be about £2m a year, once roll-out is completed by December 2013.
The service is expected to be cost-neutral, as screening should mean fewer emergency operations will need to be performed.