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Ultrasound is regularly being used to evaluate abdominal aortic aneurysms. Abdominal aneurysm is a swelling of the aorta, the main blood vessel that brings blood for your heart to the rest of the body. The aorta is around 2.5 in the abdominal area, it can however swell to more than 5cm.
Aneurysms are more common in men of 65+ years of age than in women and younger men and they can be fatal as large aneurysms can burst. According to NHS Choices 8 out of 10 people with aortic aneurysm or AAA die.
Its highly unlikely that small aneurysms will cause any symptoms but large aneurysm can cause the following symptoms:
The Abdominal Aortic scan includes evaluation of:
Ultrasound report and if needed, a follow up recommendation.
No preparation is necessary for this scan but avoid eating foods that can cause significant amount of abdominal gas
Before the scan our sonographer will explain the examination procedure. During your scan you will be asked to expose your abdomen by lifting your top up. We will put some ultrasonic gel on your skin and we will use an ultrasound probe that sends sound waves in your body to visualise the aorta.
The scan is painless and we will be able to tell you there and then if you do have an AAA. An ultrasound report will be issued to take it with you.
Vascular ultrasound is carried out in order to monitor blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body, locate and identify blockages and abnormalities like blood clots, plaque or emboli.
Vascular ultrasound can also help to identify areas of abnormal widening of blood vessels (aneurysm) that, if left untreated, can lead to serious consequences.
A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of a vascular ultrasound examination. Doppler is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates the speed and volume of blood as it flows through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck. It can help to diagnose blockages to blood flow (such as clots) narrowing of vessels (possibly caused by plaque) and tumors and congenital malformation.
As the images are captured in real time, they can help the sonographer monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body.