Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Detection
By: Adam Alpers, D.O.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurism (AAA) is a degenerative process affecting the wall of the abdominal aorta. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is a serious condition requiring surgery, hence come the benefits of early detection and diagnosis for early treatment and prevention of complications.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is mainly attributed to atherosclerosis. The risk for developing abdominal aortic aneurism reaches its peak at the age of seventy. Family incidence increases the risk for developing Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, as well as many factors, such as smoking and previous history of coronary artery disease, hypertension and previous aneurysm repair. The majority of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms are asymptomatic; but as they expand they lead to painful pulsations in the abdomen, chest, lower back or scrotum.
Ultrasound is very useful in abdominal aortic aneurysm detection and management. It detects the presence of the aneurysm, evaluating its anatomical position, size and extent. Ultrasonography is a non invasive, up to 99%, sensitive test and is considered one of the most important preoperative investigative modalities for a patient with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Other important tests are useful to detect and track progression of AAA, such as CT scan, MRI and angiography. In addition, echocardiography is useful to identify an aneurysm higher up in the chest cavity at the origination of the aorta. However, ultrasonography remains the easiest method to diagnose, follow up, and treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It is an inexpensive, sensitive and non invasive procedure.