Clinical Indication

Flank/back/abdominal pain, syncope, shock

Probe Selection



  • Identify the aorta as the large, pulsatile vessel sitting anterior to the semicircular vertebral body, confirm pulsatile flow and patency with color or PW doppler.  You may need to apply some steady and firm pressure to displace bowel gas, position your patient in the right lateral decubitus to help displace the bowels. 
  • Measure outer wall-to-outer wall for the diameter (> 3 cm = AAA) - you could be fooled by a normal internal diameter in the presence of an intra-aortic thrombus
  • Proximal Aorta: "seagull sign" where the celiac trunk bifurcates into the splenic and common hepatic aa
  • Mid-Aorta: no reliable landmarks
  • Distal Aorta: just proximal to the bifurcation of the iliacs (< 1.5 cm)
  • Dissection: you may see a large intimal flap, the suprasternal notch view can also be used