Abdominal aortic aneurysm on plain radiograph

Case contributed by Daniel J Bell


Incidental finding on spinal radiograph post-trauma

Patient Data

Age: 80 years
Gender: Female

Comparison was made with previous plain radiographs from two years previously.
Chronic stable appearances of the lumbar spine including severe anterior wedge compression fracture of T12 and multilevel degenerative disc disease. Mild scoliosis convex to the left of the mid lumbar spine.

Heavily calcified abdominal aorta with evidence of size-stable aneurysm.

Incidental note of a well-circumscribed calcified lesion projected in the left upper quadrant. Calcified splenic artery also noted (common finding in an elderly patient).

Case Discussion

It is not uncommon to diagnose an AAA on plain film (although in this particular case the diagnosis was already known). It has been stated that the incidental detection of AAA on imaging is serendipitous in view of the risk of these rupturing as they grow larger and the definitive therapy that can be provided prophylactically to prevent this negative outcome.

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