• Your aorta is the large artery that comes out of the heart and transports oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Factors such as aging, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), hypertension, and trauma can cause damage to your aorta.

    You have been scheduled for a duplex study of your aorta. This test allows the technologist to visualize the aorta as well as listen to the flow of the blood through the artery. The vessel will be assessed for plaque formation (due to fatty material deposits), trauma or the presence of an aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs when the vessel wall weakens and balloons out.

    In preparation for the test, you must not eat or drink anything after midnight before your test. You should be scheduled for a morning appointment. Food and gas in your stomach can cause difficulty in viewing the artery. During the test, you will lie on your back. Ultrasound gel will be applied to your abdomen. Using an ultrasound transducer, the technologist will apply light pressure to your abdomen in order to visualize the aorta. Doppler soundwaves may be used so the technologist can listen to the blood flowing through the artery.

    The test itself takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. Needles, catheters, and dye are not used during this procedure. A physician will review your test results and discuss them with you on your return visit.