An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a balloon-like bulge in the aorta, which is the large artery that carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart. An AAA occurs in the part of the aorta that is in the abdomen. AAA screening is a painless and non-invasive exam that uses ultrasound guidance to measure the abdominal aorta to look for any abnormalities that might require further examination. Approximately two-thirds of abdominal aortic aneurysms occur in men.
*According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), there is not sufficient evidence to determine whether women ages 65 to 75 who have ever smoked cigarettes or have a family history of AAA would benefit from AAA screening. If you think you would benefit from this exam, talk to your doctor.
- Genetic factors
- Gender (males at higher risk)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Pain in the back, abdomen, or groin that may be prolonged and not relieved with position change or pain medication
- Pulsating enlargement or tender mass felt by a physician when performing a physical examination
- Have ever smoked
- Have a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm
According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), there is currently not enough evidence to make a recommendation for or against AAA screening in women ages 65 to 75 who smoke or have ever smoked. Women with a family history should consult with their doctor.