Patients' Experiences of having an AAA.
We have now added patient's own descriptions of what its like to have an AAA from diagnosis right through to their recover from surgery. These are available to view on our Forum section under the Patient Experience topic along with other descriptions from patients taking part in AAA QIP patient groups held around the U.K. These include Bristol, Newcastle and Leeds. The most recent descriptions were provided by AAA patients taking part in our patient group held in Manchester. To read the findings from our Manchester patient group, visit our Patient Involvement page.
Most patients attending in Manchester discovered they had an AAA by chance by visiting a GP. Only two patients had any symptoms such as abdominal and back pain. Experiences ranged from one patient describing AAA surgery as "no more traumatic than having my appendix out" to another patient who had an Open Repair over 2 years ago, developed hernias as a result of the surgery and has still not achieved full health. These descriptions also gave useful insights where patients described their operation as very successful yet pointed out that they have had no follow up since. How do they know they have completely recovered? One patient also revealed that the effects of being diagnosed with an AAA were more psychological. As the size of the AAA was monitored, knowing it was continually growing caused anxiousness.
Patients also answered questions relating to the Vascular Society's framework for improving the results of elective AAA Repair. Only 2 out of 7 patients received information leaflets about their condition but generally VS Quality Standards were achieved with nearly all patients having risks explained to them prior to surgery and receiving pre-operative tests.