The MUSC Advanced Aortic Surgery Program

Diagnosing Aortic Disease

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for an aneurysm may include any, or a combination, of the following:

  • Computed tomography scan (Also called a CT or CAT scan) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
  • Ultrasound - uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.
  • Arteriogram (angiogram) - an x-ray image of the blood vessels used to evaluate various conditions, such as aneurysm, stenosis (narrowing of the blood vessel), or blockages. A dye (contrast) will be injected through a thin flexible tube placed in an artery. This dye makes the blood vessels visible on x-ray.
  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI)
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Echocardiogram
  • Echocardiography
  • Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
  • Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)
  • X-ray 

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