The abdominal aorta is the main artery that extends from the heart to the pelvis. Its branches supply the body with its blood flow. The aorta is commonly scanned for an aneurysm or disruption in blood flow.
Your examination will be performed by a sonographer who will introduce themselves and confirm your identity and the procedure you are having. First, clear gel is applied to the skin over the area to be examined. The ultrasound probe is then moved over the skin to look at the structures below. You will be asked to hold your breath and move into certain positions to allow clear vision of the aorta and associated vessels. Measurements will be taken along the length of the vessel. During this procedure, it is common to use a form of ultrasound called Doppler. The Doppler allows assessment of aspects of blood flow. During the use of the Doppler, you may hear whooshing noises which are a representation of the blood flow or pulse.
The images are looked at by a radiologist who will provide a written report for your doctor. The radiologists may sometimes speak to you in person during your examination.
Before your Scan
You are required to fast (not eat or drink) for 6 hours before to the scan. Fasting reduces the amount of gas in your abdomen, which provides clearer images of the aorta. If possible, book the appointment for first thing in the morning after an overnight fast.
Please also refrain from smoking.
You can take your usual medication with a small amount of water.
Diabetic patients should tell booking staff when making an appointment so the exam can fit in with your dietary requirements.
If possible, wear clothing that allows easy access to the area being scanned, such as two-piece clothing (separate upper/lower garments).
Approximately 20 minutes.
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