Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

An aortic aneurysm involves a bulge in the aorta section i.e. the main artery of a human body. It carries blood rich in oxygen from your heart to remaining parts of the body. Since the section of aneurysm undergoes overstretch and weak, it causes burst. In case there is a burst in aorta, it may cause severe bleeding, which quickly result in death.

The formation of aneurysms may take place in almost every section of the aorta, but these mainly take place in belly area as abdominal aortic aneurysm. Moreover, it may occur in one’s upper body i.e. thoracic aortic aneurysm.

How do Doctors Test for Aortic Aneurysm?

Aortic Aneurysm Tests and Examinations: Doctors diagnose the problem of aortic aneurysms while they conduct an ultrasound, an X-ray or any echocardiogram for different reasons. Sometimes, patients may feel the problem of abdominal aneurysm during their physical examinations.

If the doctor thinks you suffer from aortic aneurysm, he will ask your medical history and simultaneously, perform a physical examination. Even you have to undergo with different tests for locating the exact problem. Whenever doctors/patients diagnose/suspect an aneurysm, it is essential to-

  • Identify the exact location of the aortic aneurysm
  • Estimate the size and its growth rate
  • Identify the involvement of any other blood vessel (if any)
  • Find out any blood clot or the problem of inflammation.

Preliminary Tests/Examinations

Medical History Questions

Doctors may ask you the following questions to know about your medical history:

  • Do you face any symptom related to the problem and any idea when it started?
  • Are you a cigarette smoker?
  • Do you have high blood pressure or any other health problems?
  • Do you have an injury in the chest recently?
  • Do you have any family member suffered from aortic aneurysm?

Physical Examinations

In order to conduct physical examinations, doctors may-

  • Check your heartbeat to find out any blood flow problem
  • Feel the abdomen area of a patient to check the mass of any enlarged aorta.
  • Check feet and legs.

Advanced Tests and Examinations

Imaging Tests. Imaging tests are helpful in finding out the size, location and growth rate of aortic aneurysm. These include-

Abdominal Ultrasound- Abdominal Ultrasound identifies the growth of aortic aneurysm in patients. In case of large aneurysm, you have to undergo with this imaging test after every 6 months or 1 year. On the other side, in case of a small one, ultrasound for every 2 or 3 year period is sufficient.

CT and MRA Combination: Whenever doctors require detailed view of the bulge/aortic aneurysm formed, they recommend for the combination of CT i.e. Computed Tomography and MRA i.e. Magnetic Resonance Angiogram. This becomes very much essential to identify the relation of aneurysm with blood vessels present in kidney and nearby organs. Your doctor requires this information particularly before surgery.

Echocardiogram and Angiogram: Echocardiogram is essential for diagnose of thoracic aortic aneurysm. Angiogram on the other side, allows doctors to know the exact size of any aneurysm and at the same time, any aortic dissection, clotting of blood or involvement of blood vessels.

Ongoing Testing: Ongoing testing has a prime objective to estimate the risk related to rupture or burst of aortic aneurysm and to compare the rupture risk with risk related to the surgery. In case of the detection of aortic aneurysm, tests in the form of abdominal ultrasound become useful for closely follow/monitor any change in size or any other related aspect of aortic aneurysm, while help in measuring the risk associated with rupture. If you undergo with endovascular repair of your aortic aneurysm and possess a stent graft, you require tests every year, particularly, the CT scan to identify any graft problem.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 31, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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