Former Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Alan Starling says he’s lucky to be alive after routine screening revealed he had THREE potentially life threatening aneurysms.
All men in the Huddersfield and Calderdale areas are invited for the screening which checks the main arteries in the stomach area for aneurysms – balloon-like swellings which, if they burst, could lead to massive blood loss.
The simple screening is carried out by ultra-sound scan and takes around 10 minutes.
Alan and his family were so grateful for the life-saving check-up he has raised money for the ward which helped him recover after the operation – and he is now urging other men not to miss appointments.
Grandad of two lan, who lives in Mount, said: “Those 10 minutes at the screening check saved my life.
“I was looked after by a fantastic team of people. Everybody was amazing. If I hadn’t of gone for my check I would not be here now.
“I urge everyone who is sent a routine appointment to take 10 minutes to go for the check.”
When Alan first attended the screening, the main aneurysm was detected but it was a size which was borderline for the dangerous category.
He then had an appointment to see vascular nurse specialist Kate Humphries. During a series of questions he told them he had backache thinking it may have been the after effects of playing golf on a family holiday to celebrate his 65th birthday.
Medics feared the aneurysm could be about to start leaking blood and he was referred to vascular surgeon consultant Mr Anver Mahomed. The CT scan then detected the aneurysms.
“They came back and told me I wasn’t going home,” said Alan. “They had found three aneurysms and I needed an urgent operation so I was admitted immediately.”
He was told about the risks of the complex surgery – which could include amputation – and his surgery was performed by Mr Mahomed and Mr Neeraj Bhasin. Alan spent two nights in intensive care before being moved onto Ward 3.
Alan’s wife Gill and daughters Natalie and Natasha had an anxious wait until they knew the operation had been a success.
Alan made 112 appearances for Town between 1976 and 1980 and considers himself to have lived a pretty healthy life.
“I had never really been unfit so I really would urge everybody to have their screening,” he said. “I feel so lucky and if my story saves a life I will be delighted.”
Alan returned to the hospital on Wednesday to thank staff. He raised money for Ward 3 by taking a picture of his scar and asking friends and family to “guess the number” of staples at £10 a go.
Vascular nurse Kate Humphries said appointments for scans should not be ignored and added: “In the majority of cases the scans will be clear but, as in Mr Starling’s case, they may show an aneurysm and that could be potentially life threatening.
“It is important not to ignore your invitation to screening as a 10 minute scan could save your life.”
Men are invited for abdominal aortic aneurysm screening during the year they turn 65.
Men aged over 65 and over who haven’t previously been screened can self-refer by contacting their local screening service.
See www.nhs.uk/aaa for more information and contact details of your local AAA screening service