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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK
Doctors hail heart defect test
A man being treated
Men are more likely to suffer an aortic aneurysm
Doctors in Gloucestershire scheme say they have reduced deaths by 40% by screening men for a heart defect.

The medics are now calling for the test - which identifies aortic aneurysms - to be rolled out nationwide.

The screening programme has been running for 13 years at an annual cost of 43,000.

Men aged 65 are tested using ultra-sound scans. It is thought a nationwide roll out would cost 50m a year.

Around 3,000 men are invited for screening each year and those who are found to have a potential problem are referred for further investigation.

Doctors involved in the Gloucestershire scheme wrote in the British Medical Journal: "The scientific arguments for a national screening programme for aneurysms are cogent.

"We believe that the UK's family doctor-based health system puts it in an ideal position to be the first country to start national screening."

The 50m figure was quoted in the journal by Professor Roger Greenhalgh, from Charing Cross Hospital.

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