Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Ultrasound

  • Angela B. CredittEmail author
  • Michael Joyce


Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a potentially life-threatening condition depending on the size and characteristics of the aneurysm. Ultrasound is a useful modality to quickly assess the aorta for the presence of an aneurysm, or arterial dissection, and to determine the relative risk of impending rupture. To do this, it is important for an ultrasonographer to learn how to accurately image and measure the diameter of an aortic aneurysm. This chapter serves to educate the novice learner on how to take these measurements as well as how to overcome limitations to doing so. It will review indications for performing an aortic ultrasound, basic anatomy, image acquisition, normal ultrasound anatomy, and interpretation of pathology.


Abdominal aorta Abdominal aortic aneurysm Fusiform aneurysm Saccular aneurysm Aortic dissection 

Supplementary material

Video 7.1

Proximal aorta: The normal aorta in transverse will be a circular structure with hyperechoic walls and an anechoic center, usually located directly anterior to the vertebral body or just lateral to it.1 The IVC, sometimes collapsed, will be visualized to the patients right (MP4 1872 kb)

Video 7.2

Celiac trunk with seagull sign: Arising from the Aorta is the celiac trunk, branching into the hepatic artery and splenic artery (MP4 572 kb)

Video 7.3

Superior mesenteric artery: Superior Mesenteric Artery is the second main branch from the abdominal aorta, just inferior to the Celiac trunk (MP4 1609 kb)

Video 7.4

Renal arteries: Left and right renal artery branches are visualized at the end of this clip (MP4 1985 kb)

Video 7.5

Aortic bifurcation: Near the umbilicus, the aorta will bifurcate into the right and left iliac arteries (MP4 620 kb)

Video 7.6

Sagittal aorta: Sagittal view at the level of the superior mesenteric artery and celiac artery (MP4 1487 kb)

Video 7.7

Fusiform aneurysm: Uniform concentric dilation of a fusiform aneurysm in a sagittal plane (MP4 1913 kb)

Video 7.8

Abdominal aortic aneurysm in transverse plane: Transverse view of a fusiform aneurysm measuring greater than 3.0 cm (MP4 1973 kb)

Video 7.9

AAA with thrombus: Large dilated aorta with internal thrombus (MP4 1998 kb)

Video 7.10

Dissection: Hyperechoic dissection flap is seeing in the middle of this aorta (MP4 2214 kb)

Video 7.11

Artifact: This image displays a mirror artifact where the aorta wall is doubled. Note there is no beginning or end to the flap, and it only is where the wall is next to another vessel, thus raising suspicion for artifact. Imaging in multiple planes will help delineate this (MP4 1848 kb)

Video 7.12

Dissection with color Doppler: Color flow imaging of dissection shows more turbulent flow in the dissected portion of the aorta (MP4 1611 kb)


  1. 1.
    Reardon RF, Clinton ME, Madore F, Cook T. Chapter 9: Abdominal aortic aneurysm. In: Ma OJ, Mateer JR, Reardon RF, Joing SA, editors. Emergency Ultrasound. 3rd ed. China: McGraw-Hill Education; 2014. p. 225–46.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wu S, Blackstock U, Lewiss R, Saul T, Bagley W. Focus on: bedside ultrasound of the abdominal aorta. ACEP News Website. May 2010. Accessed 17 April 2017.
  3. 3.
    SonoSim Ultrasound Training Solution [Video]. Santa Monica, CA: SonoSim Inc.; 2017.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineVirginia Commonwealth University Medical CenterRichmondUSA

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