AAAs can be detected using duplex ultrasound by viewing the aorta and measuring the distance between the walls of the vessel to determine whether it is within a normal range of sizes. The test is painless and does not use any radiation or needles.
It may not be possible to see the artery along its full length if it is obscured by bowel gas. This occurs in some patients regardless of their diet, and is a common problem when scanning the abdomen because we are scanning through the bowels. If this occurs, the Vascular Scientist performing your scan might attempt to scan your abdomen from different positions, and/or ask you to move into a different position (for example, onto your side).
What will Happen?
- You may eat and drink as usual prior to the test and you do not need to remove your hearing aid or glasses.
- You will be asked to lay on the bed on your back. The vascular scientist will ask you to pull up you shirt/blouse and possibly lower your trousers slightly so we can get to your tummy.
- A water-based gel, which may feel cold, and a probe will be placed onto your tummy.
- Images will appear on the screen of your blood vessels, similar to the picture above. You may hear some noises from the machine but this is perfectly routine.
- A clinical vascular scientist (who might be male or female) will perform and interpret your ultrasound scan.
Image 1. Large Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm