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Abdominal palpation had moderate sensitivity and specificity for detecting abdominal aortic aneurysm

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 QUESTION: In adults who were >50 years of age, is abdominal palpation accurate for detecting abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)?


Blinded comparison of abdominal palpation with ultrasonography.


Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.


200 participants who were 51 to 88 years of age (mean age 73 y, 98% men) and had known AAAs (≥3 cm in diameter) (n=99) or known absence of AAAs (n=101).

Description of test and diagnostic standard

2 internists independently examined patients who were in a supine position with raised knees and relaxed abdomen (400 examination findings). Internists attempted to identify aortic pulsation by deep palpation of the upper abdomen. An AAA was considered to be present when the aorta was judged to be ≥3 cm in maximum …

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  • Source of funding: not stated.

  • For correspondence: Dr F A Lederle, Department of Medicine (III-0), Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 1 Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417, USA. Fax +1 612 725 2118.