Patients with a ruptured AAA may present in frank shock, as evidenced by cyanosis, mottling, altered mental status, tachycardia, and hypotension.
Whereas abrupt onset of pain due to rupture of an AAA may be quite dramatic, associated physical findings may be very subtle.
Most AAAs are asymptomatic, and many are detected as an incidental finding on diagnostic imaging obtained for other reasons.
Like aneurysms of the thoracic aorta, AAAs may be broadly described as either fusiform (circumferential) or saccular (more localized).
However, these descriptions represent two points on a continuum, and lesions that fall between the two points exist.
There is a wide spectrum of clinical presentations, and AAA should be considered in the differential diagnosis for a number of symptoms.
Ultrasonography is the standard imaging tool for AAA.