Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The aortic artery is the primary artery carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the entire body. An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the aortic artery, caused by plaque build up (cholesterol), which weakness the vessel walls, bulging them and eventually rupturing when left untreated. Aortic aneurysms most commonly occur in the abdominal region. This condition can be diagnosed with a duplex ultrasound scan which produces images of the aorta using sound waves. Duplex ultrasound is a process which combines regular ultrasound (produces images of the organs) and Doppler ultrasound (produces images of blood flow through the blood vessels) to show abnormalities in blood vessels, which affect the flow of blood.

The abdominal duplex ultrasound procedure is performed after a night fast so that bowel gases do not interrupt the ultrasound imaging. During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on a table and a gel will be applied on the abdominal area to help the transmission of sound waves. A transducer is then moved over the abdomen to capture images of the blood vessels. Your vascular surgeon then examines the images for any increase in diameter of the aorta, indicating an aneurysm. This is a non-invasive, accurate and safe method of diagnosis and does not have any side effects.