Send to

Choose Destination
Am Fam Physician. 2015 Apr 15;91(8):538-43.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Author information

University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC, USA.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm refers to abdominal aortic dilation of 3.0 cm or greater. The main risk factors are age older than 65 years, male sex, and smoking history. Other risk factors include a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm, coronary artery disease, hypertension, peripheral artery disease, and previous myocardial infarction. Diagnosis may be made by physical examination, an incidental finding on imaging, or ultrasonography. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released updated recommendations for abdominal aortic aneurysm screening in 2014. Men 65 to 75 years of age with a history of smoking should undergo one-time screening with ultrasonography based on evidence that screening will improve abdominal aortic aneurysm-related mortality in this population. Men in this age group without a history of smoking may benefit if they have other risk factors (e.g., family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm, other vascular aneurysms, coronary artery disease). There is inconclusive evidence to recommend screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm in women 65 to 75 years of age with a smoking history. Women without a smoking history should not undergo screening because the harms likely outweigh the benefits. Persons who have a stable abdominal aortic aneurysm should undergo regular surveillance or operative intervention depending on aneurysm size. Surgical intervention by open or endovascular repair is the primary option and is typically reserved for aneurysms 5.5 cm in diameter or greater. There are limited options for medical treatment beyond risk factor modification. Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm is a medical emergency presenting with hypotension, shooting abdominal or back pain, and a pulsatile abdominal mass. It is associated with high prehospitalization mortality. Emergent surgical intervention is indicated for a rupture but has a high operative mortality rate.

Summary for patients in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Academy of Family Physicians
Loading ...
Support Center