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What is an aorta ultrasound scan?

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Quick Answer

Ultrasound tests are useful in determining the presence, location, size and rate of growth of an aortic aneurysm, says WebMD. Types of ultrasound tests include an abdominal ultrasound, an echocardiogram, a transthoracic echocardiogram, a transesophageal echocardiogram and an angiogram.

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Full Answer

An abdominal ultrasound helps determine if there is an abdominal aorta aneurysm, which can be difficult to diagnose, particularly if the patient is overweight, says WebMD. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound exam that studies the heart, while a transthoracic echocardiogram or a transesophageal echocardiogram is useful to diagnose a thoracic aortic aneurysm. An angiogram is an ultrasound test that determines if there are aortic dissections, blood clots or other blood vessel involvement.

Ultrasound tests help a doctor determine how often ultrasound testing should be performed in relation to the size and rate of growth of an aortic aneurysm, states WebMD. If the aneurysm is large, further ultrasound tests should be performed every six to 12 months, and if it is small, further ultrasound tests may only be needed every two to three years.

Computed tomography and magnetic resonance angiogram are other ultrasound tests used when more detail is required, such as the aneurysm's relation to the blood vessels of other organs, especially the kidneys, reports WebMD.

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