Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm: a surgical emergency with many clinical presentations
  1. A N Assar,
  2. C K Zarins
  1. Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Dr A N Assar, Stanford University, Clark Center, 318 Campus Drive West, E 350, Stanford, CA 94305-5431, USA; mrassar{at}


Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is one of the most fatal surgical emergencies, with an overall mortality rate of 90%. Most AAAs rupture into the retroperitoneal cavity, which results in the classical triad of pain, hypotension, and a pulsatile mass. However, this triad is seen in only 25–50% of patients, and many patients with ruptured AAA are misdiagnosed. It is likely that different sites of rupture of AAA determine a variety of common and uncommon clinical presentations, the recognition of which can save many lives. This article reviews the different sites of rupture of infrarenal AAA and explores the evidence behind the various clinical presentations seen in patients with ruptured AAA.

  • abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • ruptured aneurysm
  • aortic rupture
  • rupture
  • emergency
  • surgery
  • endovascular aneurysm repair

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None.