Abdominal X-ray - Abnormal calcification
Vascular calcification

Key points

  • Don't forget non-gastrointestinal causes of abdominal pain

Other investigations

  • An abdominal aortic aneurysm can often be seen with ultrasound but is more definitively assessed prior to treatment with CT

Calcification of arteries seen on x-rays is a sign of more generalised atherosclerosis.

Occasionally vascular calcification seen on an abdominal X-ray reveals an unexpected aneurysm. Remember that abdominal pain is not only caused by gastrointestinal disease.

Vascular calcification

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Vascular calcification

  • There is striking calcification of the aorta and iliac vessels
  • This is a sign of generalised atherosclerosis elsewhere in the body

Abdominal aortic aneurysm - AAA

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Abdominal aortic aneurysm - AAA

  • There is calcification of the dilated aortic wall
  • Frequently only one side of the aneurysm is visible - as in this image - the other being projected over the spine

Page author: Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust UK (Read bio)

Last reviewed: February 2016