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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta, the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. The aorta runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen and is the body’s main supplier of blood. A ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.

Indications:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Suspicion of aortic aneurysm during a clinical exam
  • Abdominal bruit
  • Back pain
  • Aneurysm at another location
  • Distal peripheral arterial embolic event

Risk factors:

  • Tobacco use
  • Family history of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Age 60 +
  • Male (men develop abdominal aortic aneurysms more than women)
  • Atherosclerosis, the buildup of fat and other substances that can damage the lining of a blood vessel

What is involved?

During this painless exam, you lie on your back on an examination table and a small amount of warm gel is applied to your abdomen. The gel helps eliminate the formation of air pockets between your body and the instrument the technician uses to see your aorta, called a transducer. The technician presses the transducer against your skin over your abdomen, moving from one area to another. The transducer sends images to a computer screen that the technician monitors to check for a potential aneurysm. The test will take approximately 15 minutes.