Abdominal Ultrasound Scan Test

Although an abdominal ultrasound can be done to check for a number of conditions, it can be used to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakened, bulging spot in your abdominal aorta, the artery that runs through the middle of your abdomen and supplies blood to the lower half of your body.

An abdominal ultrasound can also be used to check for other diseases that affect your kidneys, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

An abdominal ultrasound to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm is recommended for men ages 65 to 75 who are current or former cigarette smokers. Having an abdominal ultrasound to screen for an aortic aneurysm isn't specifically recommended for men who have never smoked, nor women, unless your doctor suspects you may have an aneurysm.

Why it's done How you prepare What you can expect Results

Reasons for Abdominal Ultrasound Test

Your doctor may recommend you have an abdominal ultrasound if you're at risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. A one-time abdominal aortic ultrasound screening is recommended for men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetimes.

Routine screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm isn't recommended for women, and it's unclear if men who have never smoked may benefit from an abdominal ultrasound to screen for an aortic aneurysm.

Risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysm include:

  • Being male
  • Age of 60 years or older
  • A history of atherosclerosis — a thickening of the walls of your arteries
  • A family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • High blood pressure (a systolic pressure of 140 to 159 millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg, and a diastolic pressure of 90 to 99 mm Hg)
  • An aneurysm in one of your other arteries
  • Chronic lung disease

Other possible reasons you may have an abdominal ultrasound

Your doctor may also recommend that you have an abdominal ultrasound if he or she thinks you have a problem with another organ in your abdomen, including:

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen

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