What is the role of blood pressure in the diagnosis of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Saum A Rahimi, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Normally, systolic blood pressures are higher in the thigh than in the arm. In patients with AAA, this relation may be reversed. Bilateral upper-extremity blood pressures should be measured in patients with AAAs. Upper-extremity blood pressures that differ from each other by more than 30 mm Hg indicate subclavian artery stenosis, and perioperative monitoring is important. Cervical bruits may indicate carotid artery stenosis. Hypertension may trigger a workup for renal artery stenosis.

Femoral/popliteal pulses and pedal (dorsalis pedis or posterior tibial) pulses should be palpated to determine if an associated aneurysm (femoral/popliteal) or occlusive disease exists. Flank ecchymosis (Grey Turner sign) represents retroperitoneal hemorrhage.

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