A Question of Centimeters – Navigating the Tricky Waters of Surveillance and Watchful Waiting

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Image via cdc.gov

How long do you wait for a centimeter?

Let’s back up.

We already know the aorta is the major arterial vessel supplying oxygenated blood to the body. We understand that an aneurysm is a muscular weakening of any blood vessel wall that causes dilatation. When an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) gets large enough, we worry that it will rupture, and the patient will die from decompensated shock.

What’s our cutoff? When is an abdominal aortic aneurysm too big? For the “average 70 kg male” that our medical journals insist on referencing (I’m 5’1” tall so

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