Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is an enlargement of the aorta, which can be detected by a screening ultrasound examination. Abdominal aortic aneurysms can be commonly asymptomatic and can be silently unnoticed for many years. Continued growth beyond a certain size carries risk of fatal rupture which is a life-threatening medical emergency. Early detection of AAA by screening ultrasound has been linked to lower rates of rupture and deaths.
You risk of AAA is increased if you:
The following organizations recommend AAA screening by ultrasound:
United States Preventative Services Task Force 1
American Heart Association/ American College of Cardiology 2
Society of Vascular Surgery 3
A quick, painless, non invasive ultrasound examination of the abdomen detects if the diameter of the aorta is greater than 3.0 cm.
Ultrasound image of AAA detected by screening, measuring 3.7 cm (red arrow).
No recovery period or activity restrictions.
If a AAA is detected by your screening ultrasound examination, your primary care doctor will be notified. We also can provide advanced imaging of the aorta and blood vessels using CT and MR and referral for endovascular or surgical consultation, as needed.
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