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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 19 August
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
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Tuesday 19 August 2008
Aneurysms

Full programme transcript >>

Aneurysms

In this week’s Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter investigates aneurysms – a swelling in the blood vessel that can happen in any artery in the body. 

The bigger the artery, the more dangerous the aneurysm and the biggest in the body is the aorta, the main artery from the heart.   If an aortic aneurysm bursts outside a hospital environment, there is an 80% mortality rate.

Most aortic aneurysms occur in the abdomen, which is why the Department of Health announced a screening programme using ultrasound scans to pick up aneurysms early enough to do something about them before they rupture. It's hoped that the programme could save 1500 lives a year.

Mark speaks to vascular surgeon Hany Hafez, director of the screening programme at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, and has his own aorta screened.

Mark also visits the vascular ward at St Mary’s Hospital in London - a specialist centre for treating aneurysms. He talks to the team that manages emergency cases, and meets a patient who has had preventative surgery.

Just as dangerous as aortic aneurysms are those which rupture in the confined space of the skull. 

Around 1 in 50 of the population has an intracranial aneurysm. Most are women, and will never know they have a problem assuming the aneurysm remains intact, but the outlook is very different if it bursts.

Mark speaks to Lauren Downie, whose intercranial aneurysm burst when she was 48, and to neuroradiologist Andy Clifton, who describes the keyhole technique used to treat Lauren.
 
Next week: Urology
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