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Aorta/ Aorta-iliac Ultrasound

An ultrasound of the aorta, often referred to an abdominal aortic ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to view the aorta, the main blood vessel leading away from the heart.  The iliac arteries, which are branches of the aorta, may also be evaluated as part of this exam. High frequency ultrasound waves capture video and images to look for enlargement of the aorta or iliac arteries (aneurysm), identify blockages or narrowing caused by plaque in the vessels, and to monitor existing aneurysms or arterial disease; it is also used to follow-up after surgical interventions.

An aorta ultrasound imaging study typically takes 45 to 60 minutes to complete.  DO NOT eat, drink or chew gum for 8 hours prior to this test.  You may take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor using small sips of water. If you are diabetic and unable to fast, please eat a low-fat diet (like toast, fruit or juice) and refrain from dairy products, carbonated beverages or beverages with caffeine.  Please do not chew gum or smoke the day of the test. When you eat, drink, or even chew gum, you swallow air into the stomach and bowel.  In the days leading up to the exam, please avoid gassy foods such as beans, broccoli or cabbage.  Excess air in the bowel reduces ultrasound visibility of the aorta and iliac arteries.  Fasting before the exam helps to minimize interference from bowel.  

A carotid imaging study needs no special patient preparation.  Plan on 60 minutes for the exam.