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Exp Clin Cardiol. 2011 Spring;16(1):11-5.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm: A comprehensive review.

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1
University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India;

Abstract

An arterial aneurysm is defined as a focal dilation of a blood vessel with respect to the original artery. The risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) increases dramatically in the presence of the following factors: age older than 60 years, smoking, hypertension and Caucasian ethnicity. The likelihood that an aneurysm will rupture is influenced by the aneurysm size, expansion rate, continued smoking and persistent hypertension. The majority of AAAs are asymptomatic and are detected as an incidental finding on ultrasonography, abdominal computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging performed for other purposes. It can also present with abdominal pain or complications such as thrombosis, embolization and rupture. Approximately 30% of asymptomatic AAAs are discovered as a pulsatile abdominal mass on routine physical examination. Abdominal ultrasonography is considered the screening modality of choice for detecting AAAs because of its high sensitivity and specificity, as well as its safety and relatively lower cost. The decision to screen for AAAs is challenging. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended that men between the age of 65 to 75 years who have ever smoked should be screened at least once for AAAs by abdominal ultrasonography. Management options for patients with an asymptomatic AAA include reduction of risk factors such as smoking, hypertension and dyslipidemia; medical therapy with beta-blockers; watchful waiting; endovascular stenting; and surgical repair depending on the size and expansion rate of the aneurysm and underlying comorbidities.

KEYWORDS:

Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Complications; Diagnosis; Risk factor; Treatment

PMID:
21523201
PMCID:
PMC3076160
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