The aorta is the major artery that carries blood away from the heart. There are many branches off the aorta, including arteries that carry blood to the kidneys and legs.

Ultrasound imaging is used to check the condition of the arteries in the abdominal aorta and its branches. One of the most important conditions detected by this evaluation is an abdominal aortic aneurysm, or AAA. An AAA is caused when the lining in the wall of the aorta becomes weak, and the artery balloons or gets bigger.

What to expect during the test

  • You may be asked to change into a gown.
  • You should not eat or drink anything (except medications) for eight hours before the test.
  • The test is completely safe and painless.
  • You will lie on your back while a tech places the ultrasound wand on several areas of your abdomen. The wand will have a bit of warm gel on the end. The gel helps us get clearer pictures and will not hurt your skin.
  • The only discomfort you may feel is the slight pressure from the wand as it moves along your body.
  • You may hear the swooshing sounds during the test.
  • This exam can take up to 60 mintues to complete.