Organised and hosted by the Oxford Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (OxAAA) Study team, the day was designed to provide a way for AAA patients and their families to learn more about their condition from the researchers and clinical care team in an informal environment.
The Academic Centre welcomed over 100 people affected by AAA into a lively and engaging morning of talks delivered by experts covering a variety of topics: the AAA screening process in the Thames Valley Area from the screening programme manager, the surgical options offered to AAA patients at the John Radcliffe Hospital – open and endovascular repair – from consultant vascular surgeons, and the special considerations regarding anaesthesia for patients with complex medical histories from a consultant anaesthetist.
There was also an informative update on the research being carried out by the OxAAA team, and an update on the results of their recent patient and clinician survey, allowing patients to help direct the future of AAA research and to collect feedback on the day directly from participants. An animated and frank Q&A session was chaired by Professor Ashok Handa which gave the listeners a chance to ask questions regarding all the topics covered that morning, directly to the speakers.
The afternoon allowed the attendees to explore a series of interactive clinical stations, get their blood pressure checked, talk with the specialist vascular nurses about ward-related care and decreasing their risk of AAA, and to watch demonstration ultrasound scans from the other side of the screen. There were also chances to talk to the surgical teams, look at sample grafts and instruments used in AAA surgery.
Many of the attendees felt reassured by the talks given in the morning, with 100 per cent reporting that they felt the event had increased their overall understanding of AAAs, and nearly 70 per cent offering to be nominated 'champions' in their community – raising the profile of the OxAAA study with their friends and family, GP and healthcare teams and wanting to take part in future events to help the OxAAA team direct and focus their research in areas that are most relevant to improving the lives of patients.
This event was kindly sponsored by Patient Active in Research (PAIRs) Thames Valley.