The preferred way of investigating the aorta depends on the urgency.  In an emergency the goal is to make a diagnosis as quickly as possible.  These scans are either CT (X-rays analysed by a computer which can produce complex 3-D reconstructions of the aorta), ultrasound which can monitor the size of most parts of the aorta without the need for X-rays and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging which combines many of the advantages of CT without exposure to X-rays).  Currently, we rely on CT in emergency situations.  In less urgent cases, we are more interested in monitoring the changes in the aorta over a period of time..

The aorta is investigated and monitored by scans of different sorts, performed at intervals by experts in aortic radiology who can interpret any change over time and advise on the need for treatment.