Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound

What is an abdominal aortic ultrasound?

An abdominal aorta ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to image the aorta, the main blood vessel leading away from the heart. 
 
When the walls of the abdominal aorta become weak, they may balloon outward. If the aorta reaches over three centimeters in diameter, it is then called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). As the aneurysm gets larger, the risk of rupture increases. 
 

What should I expect during this test?

During the exam you will lie on your back and a small amount of gel is applied to your abdomen. The sonographer will press the transducer on to your skin and move it over your abdomen. The transducer sends images to a computer screen, which allows the sonographer to monitor blood flow through your abdominal aorta to check for an aneurysm.
 

How do I prepare for this test?

You will need to fast (no food or drink) for 8-12 hours prior to the ultrasound. Ask your physician if it is okay for your to take your routine medication prior to the examination.
 

Are there any risks associated with an abdominal aortic ultrasound?

       There is no risk associated with this test.