Abdominal aortic ultrasound is performed with the patient in a supine position, preferably after 8 to 12 hours of fasting.
The images are obtained with a 3-5 MHz convex transducer in longitudinal and transverse planes from the level of the diaphragm to the bifurcation. The diameter is recorded at the proximal, mid, and distal aorta.
Sonographically the normal aorta has an anechoic lumen, echogenic walls and a laminar flow. The waveform shape is characterized as high resistance.
Iliac arteries are performed with a 3-5 MHz convex transducer: the entire length should be examined, but its tortuosity or bowel gas can obscure the vessels.
Peripheral arterial sonography should be performed with a 7.5-10 MHz linear array transducer, or a 3-5 MHz convex transducer, equipped with pulsed Doppler and color Doppler capability.
Normal peripheral arteries have a triphasic high resistance flow waveform: forward flow during systole, reversed flow in early diastole and forward flow again (due to the elastic recoil of vessel walls).
In this lesson the basic methodology of the echocolor Doppler study of the abdominal aorta, iliac and peripheral arteries is presented.
Franco Accorsi, MD
Member of the Order of Physician of Bologna n° 6728
I am a specialist in Medical Angiology and I am based in Bologna, Italy. Until 2008 (voluntary resignation) I worked at Maggiore Hospital in Bologna as "Dirigente Medico" in the Department of Internal Medicine and as Angiologist in the Angiology Unit with a position of "Alta Professionalità" in "Vascular Ecography and Angiology".
I am currently working in Bologna as an independent professional in the areas of angiology and vascular diagnostics.
I have been a speaker at national and international courses/congress and I have taught duplex ultrasound method in GIUV and SIUMB courses at the Maggiore Hospital, Bologna and courses of echocolor Doppler of extracranial and intracranial arteries at the Stroke Unit of S. Maria Nuova Hospital, Reggio Emilia.