ultrasound for AAA

4 Sep


Bedside ultrasound is the initial imaging modality of choice for identifying the size of the abdominal aorta.


It does not show leak, although if significant blood is present in the abdomen, that may be seen (e.g. positive FAST)


Ultrasound by a trained operator is 90-100% sensitive.


may identify a dissection flap.



abdominal aorta > 3cm define AAA.  Measurement is from outside wall to outside wall. 


Ultrasound may be more difficult in some due to obesity, bowel gas, or tenderness.

Common pitfall: ID-ing the IVC instead of the aorta


Submitted by J. Stone.


References: (Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine, Chapter 63 – Symptomatic Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms; Emergency ultrasound imaging criteria compendium. Annals of Emergency Medicine 48: 487, 2006.; http://www.sonoguide.com); picture; picture 2


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