Key Investigations

Traditional screening for suspected AAA has been physical examination plus further imaging for high risk cases. At best this method is only 68% sensitive for AAA.

Computed tomography is the gold standard investigation, but can lead to a delay in definitive diagnosis and treatment.

An early ultrasound scan is the primary investigation of choice. This is helpful for those patients who are requiring resuscitation, and also for those patients in whom one wants to identify an aneurysm early, so as to ensure an optimal clinical management plan.

Learning bite

As abdominal pain and collapse are common, a low threshold should exist for scanning the abdominal aorta in emergency department patients.