Abdominal Aortic (AAA), Imaging

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan.


Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAAs) are a relatively common pathology with a prevalence of 1.3% in patients over 50 years and an incidence in elderly men over 12%. Ruptured aneurysms have an exceptionally high mortality rate ranging 50% to 95%. In fact, mortality increases by 1% with each subsequent minute, mandating prompt diagnosis and intervention. Nearly 30% of ruptured AAAs are misdiagnosed on initial presentation. Physical examination has poor sensitivity of less than 65%. Moreover, less than 25% of patients present with the characteristic triad of hypotension, abdominal pain, and a pulsatile abdominal mass. Prompt diagnosis by utilizing point of care ultrasound has demonstrated sensitivities of 94% to 99%. Costantino et al. confirmed that bedside ultrasound is accurate within 4 millimeters of CT measurements with respect to AAA. Bedside ultrasound is a safe and effective diagnostic imaging modality that can be performed in under 5 minutes. More significantly, its use has decreased mortality by 20% to 60%.

Publication types

  • Review