Information for participants

The United Kingdom Aneurysm Growth Study aims to find out more about abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). This is a condition where the main artery in the body swells up and there is a risk of it bursting as a result. Not all AAA require treatment however. There is only a risk if the AAA gets very large. AAA are often found when they are small when they are not dangerous but some AAA will increase in size and if this occurs the only available treatment to prevent complications is surgery.

Recently a national screening programme has been started for AAA.  Through this programme, patients with AAA will be recruited into this study.  Until recently men without AAA (Control participants) were also recruited, but we have reached our target for these participants and no further men without AAA will be recruited. Study participants will have blood and urine samples taken at several time points as well as being asked to fill in questionnaires about how they feel and their general health. These samples and the information from the questionnaires will be used to determine what causes AAA and what affects the growth of AAA. Also, how patients feel about having an AAA and how this affects their wellbeing will be studied.

Through this study more detailed information about why and how aneurysms occur and grow will be found out, potentially leading to alternative ways to care for patients with AAA or even drug treatments for small aneurysms - and avoiding the need for surgery in those with AAA. The study will also enable many other diseases of older age to be studied as a by-product of recruiting many participants without AAAs and following these people over time. Recruitment to the study will take place over five years and it will involve up to 20,000 participants.

Men are invited to attend the NHS aneurysm screening programme around the time of their 65th birthday, and from now on only men who have an AAA will be invited to participate in this study - the Screening Programme will send you an invitation. However, if you would like to know more about getting involved with research on aneurysms please contact us.