I am a 25 year old male in decent health, however I have noticed visible pulsations in my abdomen when lying on my back for at least a year now and it may have been present for even longer. I have no significant medical history with no high blood pressure, and have normal cholesterol and do not have a family history of aneurysms or heart disease. I also do not smoke and am not significantly overweight with a BMI of 26. I am wondering whether this pulsating is a sign of an abdominal aortic aneurysm or is this normal for a young male?
The diagnosis of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) usually does not present with symptoms. It is most often found incidentally on imaging a patient for some other reason (i.e. CT scan of the abdomen). Symptoms usually occur when they rupture, then they may cause abdominal pain, low blood pressure, passing out (syncope), sudden collapse and sometimes constipation or urinary retention (not being able to urinate).
The presence of a palpable (able to feel) pulsatile mass in asymptomatic patients is highly specific and can predict AAA. If I palpated one in a patient I would DEFINITELY image their aorta with an ultrasound or CT scan regardless of age or risk factors.
Sometimes a normal aorta can appear pulsatile if they have a prominent pulsation or very little fat. Also, lymph nodes may adhere to the aorta and transmit the aorta’s pulsation
I would strongly advise any patient worried about a pulsatile mass in the aorta to see their physician immediately for a physical exam and allow their physician to determine if imaging of their aorta with an ultrasound or CT scan is indicated.
Thank you for your response. I just have one more question. There is no distinct pulsatile mass that I am feeling rather pulsation all up and down the abdominal portion of the aorta that is visible all across my abdomen. Does this point more toward just having a prominent pulsation rather than a AAA since there is no distinct mass that is felt?
I am planning on calling my doctor on Monday to set an appointment but some information prior to seeing him would be greatly appreciated.
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