Locating abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) on ultrasound

Learn how to detect and monitor abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) using ultrasound, the most cost-effective and non-invasive diagnostic tool.

Elizabeth Tenny, BS RVT RDCS
Elizabeth Tenny, BS RVT RDCS
14th Mar 2024 • 1m read

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA)  predominantly occur below the renal arteries, termed distal abdominal aortic aneurysms. They are distinguished by a diameter increase of 50% or more from the nearest proximal segment, measuring at least 3 cm. Conversely, abdominal aortic ectasia, ranging from 2.4–2.9 cm, poses a notable yet less severe condition.

Understanding AAA anatomy and size is pivotal in diagnosis. Distal AAA exhibits an average diameter of 2 cm across all demographics, although women may present slightly smaller vessels. Iliac artery aneurysms, occurring less frequently than AAA, necessitate careful consideration, with common iliac artery aneurysms posing classification challenges due to their proximity to the aorta.

During abdominal aortic ultrasound screenings, measuring the proximal common iliac artery diameter is crucial. For males, the maximum normal diameter is 1.7 cm, while for females, it is 1.5 cm. Beyond these thresholds, the artery is considered ectatic or aneurysmal.

It's worth noting that patients diagnosed with AAA also carry a 20% chance of developing popliteal artery aneurysms, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive vascular screening.

Start the first chapter of our Ultrasound Masterclass: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms course for free

By mastering ultrasound techniques for AAA detection and monitoring, medical professionals can significantly enhance patient outcomes, providing timely interventions and potentially preventing life-threatening ruptures.

To delve deeper into the nuances of ultrasound in diagnosing AAA and other vascular conditions, explore the full Ultrasound Masterclass: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms course.

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