The abdominal aorta is the main artery that extends from the heart to the pelvis. Its branches ultimately supply the body with its blood flow. The aorta is commonly scanned to assess for an aneurysm or disruption in blood flow.
Your examination will be performed by a sonographer. Upon being taken into the examination room the sonographer will introduce themselves, confirm your identity and examination.
A clear gel is applied to the skin over the area to be examined. The ultrasound probe is then moved over the skin surface to study the structures below. During the study you will be asked to hold your breath and move into certain positions to allow visualisation of the aorta and associated vessels. Measurements will be taken along the length of the vessel. During this exam it is common to use a specialised form of ultrasound assessment called Doppler. This technology allows assessment of aspects of blood flow. During Doppler interrogation you may hear some whooshing noises which are a representation of the blood flow or pulse.
Once your examination is completed a radiologist (specialist medical doctor) will review the sonographer’s images, and provide a written report for your doctor. Radiologists may sometimes attend your examination to personally examine you and discuss your issue.
Before your Scan
You are required to fast for 6 hours prior to the scan; this means nothing to eat or drink. Please also refrain from smoking. If you are taking medication then this can be done with a small amount of water. By fasting you reduce the amount of gas present in your abdomen and allow better visualization of the aorta. If possible it is best to book your appointment first thing in the morning after an overnight fast.
Diabetic patients should advise booking staff at the time of making an appointment so that the exam can fit in with your dietary requirements. .
It is a good idea to wear clothing that allows easy access to the area that is being imaged, two piece clothing is ideal (separate upper/lower garments).
Approximately 20 minutes.