Older males in Scotland are to receive an ultrasound scan which could detect abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture.
The scan for 65-year-old men and above will last 10 minutes and can help healthcare professionals to discover those who are at risk of developing the disease. It will be offered at local screening centres and will involve a simple scan of the abdomen.
It is thought an estimated 5% of Scottish men aged 65 to 75 are susceptible to an aneurysm rupture, and the Scottish government hope rolling out the scheme will help to prevent the deaths of around 170 men every year.
Officials said if the results turn out as expected then the risk of developing the condition in the future is “extremely low”.
But data reveals a ruptured aneurysm can kill as many as 80% of sufferers. According to health secretary Nicola Sturgeon, one in 20 Scottish men are affected by the “hidden killer” and the majority of those will not know that they have it.
She added: “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 eight in ten 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. Dealing with potential illness as soon as possible not only means that lives are saved, it also means an efficient NHS.”