Updated: Jul 30
Good morning everyone and welcome to Topic Tuesday, where we help share some informational articles, tips for healthy lifestyles, and important topics regarding the diagnosis and treatment of aortic disease! We hope you all had a Happy Fourth of July! Last month, we spent each week learning about high blood pressure and ways to treat it. This July, we want to kickstart a new theme: Imaging!
People at high-risk for aortic disease, several diagnostic tests can be done to visualize their aorta, detect any abnormalities, and follow-up over time. One of these tests is ultrasound! We start our series by sharing an amazing article from the MayoClinic discussing Ultrasound, sometimes referred to as sonography or ultrasonography works works by using sound waves to take pictures of your body.
It can be used to view superficial things such as your skin and tissues as well as deeper organs and structures, just as in the case your heart chambers and the aorta. It may also be used to help out during needle punctures, such as when inserting a needle into a an artery or vein.
Ultrasound works by detecting the bouncing back of sound waves inside tour body and turning them into an image that we can see on the screen. Special gel is used as a medium between the ultrasound device and your skin to make sure waves aren’t lost to air as they travel.
One special type of ultrasound, called “Doppler ultrasound” even lets doctors see the movement of blood through the body by giving a red/blue coloring to blood flowing in different directions. *photo credit to ResearchGate
Abdominal ultrasounds are the most commonly used screening tests for abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Note the US Preventative Services Taskforce (USPSTF) currently recommends that all men aged 65-75 with a history of smoking / tobacco use undergo an abdominal ultrasound to screen or aneurysm / disease.
While current evidence regarding the benefit of prophylactic screening in women 65-75 with a smoking history is uncertain as per the USPSTF, please be sure to always consult your physician to discuss whether or not sonography is needed at this time.
Also remember, a family history of aneurysms/dissections is VERY important to bring up during your appointments / discussion with physicians. Early diagnosis of aneurysms is one of the best steps you can take with your provider to plan management/treatment.
Should an aneurysm be identified, a doctor may order additional tests to assess the size / structure of your aorta and guide medical / surgical treatment. Join us next week as we discuss another test used - computerized tomography, also known as CT!
And that all for this week! We hope you are enjoying this new series and join us back next week. Enjoy your time with yours loved ones and until next time, remember to always Think Aorta.