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Abdominal Aortic (AAA) Screening

SUBJECT: Screening Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound
SECTION: Vascular Ultrasound
ORIGINATOR: Deborah L. Richert, BSVT, RDMS, RVT
REVIEW DATE: September 13, 2013


APPROVED BY: Jody Riherd MD, Dave Clayton RDMS RVT


***A diagnostic aortic ultrasound should be performed if the patient has signs, symptoms, or known abdominal aortic aneurysm.


Who should be screened?

  • All males aged 60-85 years
  • Females aged 60-85 years with cardiovascular risk factors
  • Males or females older than age 50 years with a family history of AAA

How often should patients be screened? Consensus is for a one-time screening, unless signs or symptoms develop in the interim.

What are the details?

  • This test can be performed at the La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Prairie du Chien, and Decorah campuses.
  • It is only performed on outpatients and only during clinic hours.

What are the guidelines for follow-up of abnormal tests?
Aortic Diameter

  • < 3 cm No further testing.
  • 3 - 4 cm Yearly diagnostic ultrasound
  • 4 - 4.5 cm Diagnostic ultrasound every 6 months
  • > 4.5 cm Consult the Gundersen Vascular Institute

Reference: Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms – a consensus statement. Vascular Medicine. 2004: 9:87-89.

Prep: None. As this is meant to be a quick survey of the distal abdominal aorta these patients may be scheduled but will often be seen as add-ons and therefore do not need to be NPO. These patients will be worked into the ultrasound schedule as requested.

Purpose: Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (see above).

Imaging Protocol:

  • Longitudinal distal abdominal aorta.
  • Transverse distal abdominal aorta.
  • If AAA greater than 3 cm is discovered then a longitudinal image of each iliac artery will be documented.
  • Reports will be dictated in the same fashion as any other ultrasound exam.
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