Your doctor may recommend that you have an abdominal ultrasound if you're at risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. A one-time abdominal aortic ultrasound screening is recommended for men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetimes.

Routine screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm isn't recommended for women, and it's unclear if men who have never smoked may benefit from an abdominal ultrasound to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysm include:

  • Being male
  • Being age 65 or older
  • Being white
  • A history of atherosclerosis — a thickening of the walls of your arteries
  • A family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • High blood pressure (a systolic pressure of 140 to 159 millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg, or a diastolic pressure of 90 to 99 mm Hg)
  • An aneurysm in one of your other arteries
  • Obesity

Other possible reasons you may have an abdominal ultrasound

Your doctor may also recommend that you have an abdominal ultrasound if he or she thinks you have a problem with another organ in your abdomen, including the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and spleen.

Ultrasound may be used to evaluate a variety of conditions, including kidney stones, tumors, abnormal liver function or abdominal pain or bloating.

Aug. 12, 2015