Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

How do we diagnose an AAA?

Ultrasound:
Ultrasound is a simple test used to both detect AAA and to see if they have grown over time.  Smokers who are starting medicare may be candidates for AAA screening.
For more information about vascular ultrasound please see
https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=vascularus.

Magnetic Resonance (MR):
MR and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) are more accurate tests to detect and measure AAA. MR is used less often because of cost but is more accurate and uses no radiation.  MR may be the most accurate way to see if a AAA is at risk for rupture.
For more information about MRA exams please see
https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angiomr.

Computed Tomography (CT):
CT and computed tomography angiography (CTA) are the most accurate tests to detect and measure AAA.  A AAA can cause severe abdominal pain.  Once detected the best way to measure the AAA and look for changes is a CTA exam.
For more information about CTA exams please see
https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angioct.

How do we treat an AAA?

AAA that have gotten large enough are treated with a stent graft which creates a path through the bulge in the aorta which seals off the bulge.  In rare cases surgery may be needed.