Abdominal Aortic Aneurism (AAA)
What is it?
- Weakness or disease of the arterial wall causing abnormal dilation that expands to form a saclike protrustion
- 95% of all AAA occur just below the renal arteries
- 13th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Condition remains asymptomatic until the aortic wall expands enough to rupture
- The classic triad includes abdominal or back pain, hypotension, and a pulsatile abdominal mass, but these may be absent in more than 60% cases of ruptured AAA.
- Trauma/weight lifting (aging athletes)
- Congenital vascular disease
- Age: 40-70
- (hypertensive) males > females
- family history
- Severe, tearing pain with sweating and dizziness may be a sign of an expanding or ruptured AAA
- Sudden drop in blood pressure accompanied by pain
- Severe chest, abdomen, back, groin, hip, or buttock pain with exertion
- No history of recent trauma or collapse
- Cold and pulseless LEs
- Assess for pulsing abdominal mass
- Palpate aortic pulse width
- Ausculation for bruits
- 65-75 year old males who were ever smokers should be screened for AAA.
- If the patient with these risk factors presents with signs or symptoms of AAA, they must be referred immediately.