What is Vascular Ultrasound?
Vascular ultrasound testing of arteries and veins is a noninvasive way of detecting vascular disease, identifying aortic aneurysms, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), carotid artery disease and peripheral artery disease.
Ultrasound testing services include:
Carotid Ultrasound: A carotid ultrasound is performed to test for narrowed carotid arteries, which increase the risk of stroke .Carotid arteries are usually narrowed by a buildup of plaque — made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that circulate in the bloodstream. Early diagnosis and treatment of a narrowed carotid artery can decrease stroke risk.
Ultrasound of the Aorta: An aortic ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to image the "aorta," the main blood vessel leading away from the heart. When the walls of the abdominal aorta become weak, they may balloon outward. If the aorta reaches over 3 centimeters in diameter, it is then called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
Ultrasound of the Renal Artery: Renal ultrasound utilizes high frequency sound waves to obtain images of your renal arteries. This test is used to determine if there are any problems with the vessels that supply blood flow to the kidneys.
Ultrasound of the Upper and Lower Extremities: Ultrasound of the extremities is a non invasive imaging technique that uses high frequency sound waves to evaluate the extremities (arms and legs) for blockages in the veins and arteries caused by blood clots and blockages.
Venous Reflux Studies: Venous Refux studies allow the physician to view veins and valves of the legs and feet to determine the movement and direction of blood flow.
What should I expect during vascular studies?
A vascular study follows this general process:
- The patient will be asked to lie on an exam table or bed.
- A clear gel will be placed on the skin at locations where the pulse is expected to be heard
- The Doppler transducer will be pressed against the skin and moved around over the area of the artery or vein being studied.
- When blood flow is detected, you will hear a "whoosh, whoosh" sound. The probe will be moved around to compare blood flow in different areas of the artery or vein.
- Once the procedure has been completed, the gel will be removed and skin cleaned.