Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

Why am I having this ultrasound examination?

The abdominal aortic aneurysm scan is a non-invasive method of checking the main arteries in your abdomen and assessing whether there is any abnormal dilatation
or ‘ballooning’ of the blood vessel walls. Your doctor has requested this examination because you may have one or more of the following presentations:

  • a marked pulsation in your abdomen
  • other family members who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
  • previous diagnosis of an aneurysm which is being monitored
  • previous treatment of AAA by surgical or endovascular methods

What arteries will be checked in this examination?

  • Normal Aorta
  • Renal Artery
  • Aneurysm of Abnormal Aorta
  • Aneurysm of Left Common Iliac Artery
  • External Iliac Artery

What happens during the examination?

Because the arteries in your abdomen lie underneath the large intestine (bowel), dietary preparation is required for this examination. The purpose of this is to reduce gases that form in the bowel and which can interfere with adequate ultrasound penetration. This preparation will be explained to you in more detail when you are making your appointment and will vary depending on whether or not you have diabetes.

The abdominal aortic aneurysm scan is performed with you lying on an examination couch so you should be quite comfortable. In order for the sonographer to easily access the abdominal arteries, you will be asked to remove your footwear, and your outer clothing from the waist down. It is helpful if you do not wear tight underclothing, such as ‘step-ins’ or corsets. The sonographer will place some gel on the skin overlying the arteries being assessed. You will feel the firm pressure from the transducer as it runs along the course of the blood vessels, and you will hear the sound of the Doppler from time to time, but there should be no major discomfort. You may be required to roll a little from side to side, so better views of the arteries can be obtained. If you do have any questions or concerns, please ask at any time throughout the test.

How long will the examination take?

Scanning of the abdominal arteries may take up to 45 minutes.

When will I get my results?

The sonographer does not usually give you your results at the time of your examination, however your doctor will receive your scan results within 2 days. If you have an appointment already booked with your referring doctor, please advise the sonographer at the time of your scan. Urgent results are always sent back to your doctor within 24 hours.

Download the Patient Information Brochure