Abdominal aortic aneurysm: When you need this one-time test

Family history or past smoking both point to higher risk for this potentially fatal condition.

How many "lifesaving" medical tests have you been offered lately? One frequently marketed to older men is an ultrasound of the abdominal aorta, the large artery below the heart that feeds the lower body. A bulging weak spot there—an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)—could eventually rupture, and that is usually fatal.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »