When a weak area of the abdominal aorta expands or bulges, it's called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The pressure from blood flowing through the abdominal aorta can cause the weakened part to bulge, much like a balloon. When it stretches too much it can burst or rupture, causing serious health problems. Approximately 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with AAA each year.
An Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound is a safe, non-invasive procedure used to examine your aortic artery and potentially diagnose problems. It uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to obtain images and waveforms of the aorta. The aorta is the major artery of your body, travelling from your heart to your pelvis it gives off branches which supply your vital organs with blood. The ultrasound images will show the structure of the aortic artery.
How is the test done?
Abdominal Aortic ultrasounds are routinely performed in the Heart Clinic of Louisiana Ultrasound department. During the test you will be asked to lie on your back on an examination table. The technician places a hand-held transducer against your abdomen and slowly passes the transducer along the aortic artery. Ultrasound gel is used on the transducer to help it slide across the abdomen. The test should take about 30 minutes.
How do I prepare for the test?
Prior to your abdominal aortic ultrasound a normal diet may be consumed and all medications should be taken as prescribed. You should empty your bladder prior to the test being performed.