In most cases, peripheral aneurysms, like other aneurysms, are detected by chance during a routine physical exam. As part of a routine checkup, your physician may look for an aneurysm in your groin or thigh, for example. Many times, aneurysms are found by accident on an imaging exam ordered for some other reason.
If your doctor suspects you have a peripheral aneurysm, he or she may order one or more tests to confirm it. These include:
This simple, painless test uses sound waves to create a picture of the inside of your body. It shows the size of the aneurysm, if one is detected. The scan may be repeated every few months or so to see if your aneurysm is growing.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
A CT scan delivers computer-generated, x-ray images of your internal organs. A liquid dye that can be seen on x-ray is injected into a vein in your arm to outline the artery on the scan.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan
MRI uses magnets and radio waves to make images of the inside of your body. It is very precise in detecting aneurysms and pinpointing their exact size and location. This procedure does not involve the use of x-rays.
A test in which a thin tube called a catheter is snaked into a blood vessel and a contrast due is injected to make the vessels visible on x-ray. An angiogram shows the amount of damage and blockage in blood vessels.
Many patients with peripheral aneurysms also have heart disease. So before treating your peripheral aneurysm, your physician may order some heart tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or stress test.