Abdominal Aorta

Abdominal Aortic Screening

What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)?

The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood around the body. Sometimes, the wall of the aorta can become weakened and bulge to form an aneurysm. If an aneurysm becomes large, the wall of the aorta at this point may tear (rupture), a condition that can be life threatening. If you have a large AAA and it is detected early, the aneurysm can be treated, usually with an operation.

How is the scan performed?

We ask that you only drink water or black tea/coffee for 6 hours before your scan. If your appointment is in the morning we ask that you do not eat breakfast and if your appointment is in the afternoon, do not eat lunch. PLEASE CONTACT US FOR FURTHER ADVICE IF YOU ARE DIABETIC. Please continue to take your normal medication.

The scan only takes around 15-20 minutes and is performed using a small ultrasound probe which is moved across the abdomen with cool ultrasound gel.

During the scan, an ultrasound assessment of your aorta and iliac vessels is made and if an aneurysm is detected we will also include an ultrasound check of your kidneys.

Who should have an AAA screening test?

The scan is available as a general health screen for all men over the age of 45 years.

Men are six times more likely to develop an AAA than women and you may be at higher risk if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have high blood pressure
  • You have a family history of AAA

Around 1 in 25 men aged 65-74 have an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

How do I get the Results?

Your ultrasound images will be reviewed by the Ultrasonographer and in some circumstances by a Consultant Radiologist. A report will be issued and sent to your GP.  Occasionally it may be necessary to repeat a scan if we are not able to obtain all the images we need. If you are required to have an additional scan, a repeat scan will be booked at no extra charge. In some circumstances your doctor may need to arrange additional tests for you before a diagnosis can be made.

Cost – £95