ACR Appropriateness Criteria® pulsatile abdominal mass, suspected abdominal aortic aneurysm

Benoit Desjardins, Karin E. Dill, Scott D. Flamm, Christopher J. Francois, Marie D. Gerhard-Herman, Sanjeeva P. Kalva, M. Ashraf Mansour, Emile R. Mohler, Isabel B. Oliva, Matthew P. Schenker, Clifford Weiss, Frank J. Rybicki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Clinical palpation of a pulsating abdominal mass alerts the clinician to the presence of a possible abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Generally an arterial aneurysm is defined as a localized arterial dilatation ≥50 % greater than the normal diameter. Imaging studies are important in diagnosing the cause of a pulsatile abdominal mass and, if an AAA is found, in determining its size and involvement of abdominal branches. Ultrasound (US) is the initial imaging modality of choice when a pulsatile abdominal mass is present. Noncontrast computed tomography (CT) may be substituted in patients for whom US is not suitable. When aneurysms have reached the size threshold for intervention or are clinically symptomatic, contrast-enhanced multidetector CT angiography (CTA) is the best diagnostic and preintervention planning study, accurately delineating the location, size, and extent of aneurysm and the involvement of branch vessels. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) may be substituted if CT cannot be performed. Catheter arteriography has some utility in patients with significant contraindications to both CTA and MRA. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria® are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed every 2 years by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and review include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of a well-established consensus methodology (modified Delphi) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures by the panel. In those instances where evidence is lacking or not definitive, expert opinion may be used to recommend imaging or treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-183
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Appropriateness criteria
  • Catheter arteriography
  • Computed tomography
  • Magnetic resonance angiography
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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