Abdominal Aorta

The abdominal aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body that carries blood away from the heart. An ultrasound of the aorta determines if there are blockages, narrowing or aneurysm also known as "AAA". (Abdominal aortic aneurysm, which involves a weakened, bulging area in the aorta that develops from high blood pressure or infection). Ultrasound can be used to effectively examine the abdominal aorta for this purpose.

What happens during the exam?
The patient lies on a table with the abdominal area exposed. The sonographer (technologist who performs the exam) will put a warm water-based gel on the skin surface. The gel helps to transmit the sound waves by excluding air. An instrument called a transducer, which is about the size of a microphone, will be moved over the skin surface by the sonographer.

How do I prepare for this test?
Please do not eat solid foods or drink anything but water or apple juice for six to eight hours before the exam. Routine medications may be taken. If you are diabetic consult with your doctor.

How long will it take?
About twenty minutes.

Will it hurt?
No.

How will I learn the results?
You may call your doctor to discuss the results.