Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound
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  Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound

Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound

   A non-invasive imaging procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to view the structures of the abdomen and determine the presence of an aneurysm


The area between the chest and the hips. Contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.

A weakness in the blood vessel wall that balloons out and may rupture at some point. Aneurysms rarely cause symptoms before the rupture, unless they are large. They do not mimic the symptoms of migraine or cluster headache. It is vital to discover them before they rupture and have catastrophic consequences such as paralysis or death.


The area between the chest and the hips. Contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.

That portion of the body that lies between the thorax and the pelvis.

Abdomens, Acute
Clinical syndrome characterized by abdominal pain of great severity associated with other symptoms and signs, usually those of acute peritonitis, which might well be the result of a ruptured abdominal viscus or a similar abdominal catastrophe requiring urgent surgical operation.

Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis. The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs. The abdomen includes a host of organs including the stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, appendix, gallbladder, and bladder. The word "abdomen" has a curious story behind it. It comes from the Latin "abdodere", to hide. The idea was that whatever was eaten was hidden in the abdomen.

Abdominal Abscesses
An abscess located in the abdominal cavity, i.e., the cavity between the diaphragm above and the pelvis below. (From Dorland, 27th ed)

Abdominal aneurysm
An aneurysm situated within the abdomen (belly). An aneurysm is a localized widening (dilatation) of an artery, vein, or the heart. At the area of an aneurysm, there is typically a bulge and the wall is weakened and may rupture. The word "aneurysm" comes from the Greek "aneurysma" meaning "a widening." An aneurysm may involve the aorta, the largest artery in the body, as it courses down through the abdomen. Because of the great volume of blood flowing under high pressure in the aorta, rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm is a surefire catastrophe.

Abdominal aorta
The abdominal aorta is the final section of the aorta, the largest artery in the body. It is a continuation of the thoracic aorta. It begins at the diaphragm, and runs down to the point where it ends (by splitting in two to form the common iliac arteries). The abdominal aorta supplies oxygenated blood to all of the abdominal and pelvic organs and the legs. Like the other sections of the aorta (the ascending aorta, aortic arch and thoracic aorta), the abdominal aorta is an arbitrary anatomic entity. The aorta is one continuous conduit that arises out of the left ventricle of the heart to carry blood to the body. Nonetheless, the abdominal aorta is a hallowed and convenient subdivision of the aorta. The abdominal aorta is also known in medical Latin as the aorta abdominalis or the pars abdominalis aortae (under which it is often hidden in standard print medical dictionaries).

Abdominal Aortas
The aorta from the diaphragm to the bifurcation into the right and left common iliac arteries.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm
A ballooning or widening of the main artery (the aorta) as it courses down through the abdomen. At the point of the aneurysm, the aneurysm usually measures 3 cm or more in diameter. The aneurysm weakens the wall of the aorta and can end in the aorta rupturing with catastrophic consequences. As the diameter of the aorta increases, the chances of an AAA rupturing rise. A measurement of 5 cm is often used to recommend surgery. Persons with AAA tend to be 60 or over. Men are 5 times more likely than women to have an AAA.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An aneurysm in that part of the aorta continuing from the thoracic region and giving rise to the inferior phrenic, lumbar, median sacral, mesenteric, renal, and ovarian or testicular arteries.

Abdominal bracing
Technique of tensing the stomach muscles to support the spine.

Abdominal cavity
The cavity within the abdomen, the space between the abdominal wall and the spine. The abdominal cavity is hardly an empty space. It contains a number of crucial organs including the lower part of the esophagus, the stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and bladder.

Abdominal Cramps
Paroxysms of pain. This condition usually occurs in the abdominal region but may occur in other body regions as well.

Abdominal Decompression
External decompression applied to the lower body. It is used to study orthostatic intolerance and the effects of gravitation and acceleration, to produce simulated hemorrhage in physiologic research, to assess cardiovascular function, and to reduce abdominal stress during childbirth.

Abdominal Delivery
Extraction of the fetus by means of abdominal hysterotomy.

Abdominal Epilepsy
Conditions characterized by recurrent paroxysmal neuronal discharges which arise from a focal region of the brain. Partial seizures are divided into simple and complex, depending on whether consciousness is unaltered (simple partial seizure) or disturbed (complex partial seizure). Both types may feature a wide variety of motor, sensory, and autonomic symptoms. Partial seizures may be classified by associated clinical features or anatomic location of the seizure focus. A secondary generalized seizure refers to a partial seizure that spreads to involve the brain diffusely. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, pp317)

Abdominal Fibromatosis
A relatively large mass of unusually firm scarlike connective tissue resulting from active participation of fibroblasts, occurring most frequently in the abdominal muscles of women who have borne children. The fibroblasts infiltrate surrounding muscle and fascia. (Stedman, 25th ed)

Abdominal guarding
Tensing of the abdominal wall muscles to guard inflamed organs within the abdomen from the pain of pressure upon them. The tensing is detected when the abdomen wall is pressed. Guarding is a characteristic finding in the physical examination for an abruptly painful abdomen (an acute abdomen) with inflammation of the inner abdominal (peritoneal) surface due, for example, to appendicitis or diverticulitis. The tensed muscles of the abdominal wall automatically go into spasm to keep the tender underlying tissues from being touched.

Abdominal hysterectomy
The uterus is removed through the abdomen via a surgical incision.

Abdominal Injury
General or unspecified injuries involving organs in the abdominal cavity.

Abdominal Migraines
A subtype of vascular headaches characterized by periodic unilateral pulsatile headaches which begin in childhood, adolescence, or early adult life and recur with diminishing frequency during advancing years. The two major subtypes are CLASSIC MIGRAINE (i.e., migraine with aura) and COMMON MIGRAINE (i.e., migraine without aura). Migrainous episodes may be associated with alterations in cerebral blood flow. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p172)

Abdominal Muscle
Muscles forming the wall of the abdomen including rectus abdominis, external and internal oblique muscles, transversus abdominis, and quadratus abdominis. (Stedman, 25th ed)

Abdominal muscle deficiency syndrome
Partial or complete absence of the abdominal muscles so that the outlines of the intestines are visible through the thin, lax, protruding abdominal wall. Also called the "prune belly syndrome." The full syndrome probably occurs only in males. In addition to the abdominal muscle deficiency, there are genital and urinary abnormalities including dilation (widening) of the urinary tract and cryptorchidism (failure for the testes to descend into the scrotum). There is also a form of abdominal muscle deficiency that is associated with narrowing (stenosis) of the pulmonary artery, mental retardation and deafness. It occurs in both boys and girls.

Abdominal muscles
A large group of muscles in the front of the abdomen that assists in the regular breathing movement and supports the muscles of the spine while lifting and keeping abdominal organs such as the intestines in place. Abdominal muscles play a key role in exercises such as "sit-ups." They are informally called the "abs".

Abdominal pain
Pain in the belly (the abdomen). Abdominal pain can come from conditions affecting a variety of organs. The abdomen is an anatomical area that is bounded by the lower margin of the ribs above, the pelvic bone (pubic ramus) below, and the flanks on each side. Although abdominal pain can arise from the tissues of the abdominal wall that surround the abdominal cavity (the skin and abdominal wall muscles), the term abdominal pain generally is used to describe pain originating from organs within the abdominal cavity (from beneath the skin and muscles). These organs include the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Abdominal Pains
Sensation of discomfort, distress, or agony in the abdominal region.

Abdominal Polyradiculopathies
Disease or injury involving multiple SPINAL NERVE ROOTS. Polyradiculitis refers to inflammation of multiple spinal nerve roots.

Abdominal Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy with development of the fetus in the abdominal cavity. (Dorland, 27th ed)

Abdominal Radiography
Radiographic visualization of the body between the thorax and the pelvis, i.e., within the peritoneal cavity.

Abdominal Typhus
An acute systemic febrile infection caused by SALMONELLA TYPHI.


Substances that cause an immune response in the body. The body "sees" the antigens as harmful or foreign. To fight them, the body produces antibodies, which attack and try to eliminate the antigens.

Autoimmune polyglandular syndrome
A group of autoimmune disorders that involve endocrine glands and which result in failure of the glands to produce their hormones. (Also called autoimmune endocrine failure syndrome, autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome, and immunoendocrinopathy syndrome.)

Air abrasion uses a process where pressurized air prepares a cavity with the use of fine, non-toxic abrasive powder (aluminum oxide) instead of using a conventional drill. Air abrasion is quiet and faster than a drill. Anesthetic is not necessary so multiple teeth can be worked on during one visit. Air abrasion can only be used on small cavities. It cannot be used for crowns or cavities between teeth. A tooth colored filling is used to fill the preparation.

Depending on the type of treatment a patient is to receive, a dentist may recommend some type of dental anesthesia. Local anesthesia involves the numbing of the teeth and gums. Topical anesthetic may be used to help make the injection more tolerable. Most dental work falls under this type of anesthesia (i.e., fillings, crowns, root canals and gum surgery) and may cause the patient to feel a temporary numbness. Nitrous Oxide or "laughing gas" may be used in combination with local anesthetics or alone if the patient cannot tolerate a local injection. Nitrous Oxide is an anti-anxiety agent that helps relax both children and adults. Patients wear a mask to breathe in the nitrous air. The effects soon dissipate once the nitrous is turned off and the patient begins to breathe oxygen through the mask. There are very few known side effects with Nitrous Oxide. General anesthesia is used during more complex procedures or for those that experience a high level of anxiety and wish to be asleep during the treatment. An anesthesiologist or a dentist who has received special training administers general anesthesia. Sometimes oral medications are used to relieve dental pain or anxiety. These analgesics may be used in combination with the above types of anesthesia or alone to help relieve post treatment discomfort.

Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound

Advance Directive
A document in which a person either states choices for medical treatment or designates someone who should make treatment choices if the person should become unable to make decisions. Most often the term refers to formal, written documents, but it can also be used to include spoken statements by the patient.

American Heart Association

Allograft (allogenic graft or homograft)
An organ or tissue transplanted from one individual to another of the same species, i.e. human to human.

A rare autoimmune disorder characterized by the buildup of abnormal protein in tissues. Amyloidosis can be a cause of heart valve disorders and heart failure.

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