What is a vascular ultrasound?
In simple terms, vascular ultrasound involves the scanning of arteries and veins in the body, either by traditional sonography or with Doppler ultrasound. It is used to assess whether blood vessels are open, narrowed or occluded such as with a blood clot.
New generation ultrasound equipment provides images at very high resolution and diagnostic accuracy. It is a reliable, cost effective means of evaluating arteries and veins in the extremities, body and neck. An ultrasound procedure produces images of any part of the body that is not a gas-filled structure or is not covered by bone.
How is this procedure patient friendly and non-invasive?
Vascular ultrasound is non-invasive and very patient friendly which does not emit ionization radiation — and there are no injections. Our technologists use sound waves to make images (ultrasound). During the test, only a small instrument (transducer) will be in touch with the body. .
You are always assured of the best quality and best diagnostics with our highly skilled sonographers who have advanced training in vascular ultrasound and our team of radiologists for prompt image interpretation and reports back to your health care provider.
How do I prepare for this exam?
Many exams require no preparation, and for some exams the only prep is not to eat or drink for 4 hours prior.
Commonly Ordered Vascular Ultrasound Exams
Cerebrovascular Evaluation: Patients with dizziness, unsteadiness of gait, stroke or TIA symptoms might have this study to evaluate the carotid and vertebral arteries in the neck which supply blood flow to the brain.
Lower/Upper Extremity Arterial Evaluation: Looks for abnormalities of arterial blood flow that may cause cramping leg pain with walking (claudication), upper extremity pain with exercise or non-healing wounds/ulcers.
Lower/Upper Extremity Venous Evaluation: A patient presenting with lower/upper extremity pain,swelling and/or edema would have this study to assess for suspected blood clot/thrombosis in the deep veins (DVT) or superficial veins (SVT), or chronic venous insufficiency as the cause of his/her symptoms.
Renal/(Kidney) Vascular Evaluation: Hypertension affects 20% of the adult population. Renal artery stenosis/blood vessel narrowing is a treatable cause of high blood pressure in a small percentage of patients with hypertension that does not respond to standard treatments.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA): An aneurysm is a bulging or ballooning of the wall of an artery which, if it gets large enough, can bleed/rupture often with catastrophic consequences. Vascular ultrasound is a quick, easy non-invasive way to assess the abdominal aorta for an aneurysm. If you are 65 or older, have smoked, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol you may qualify for a free Medicare screening for AAA.
Mesenteric Arterial Evaluation: Unexplained abdominal pain may require assessment of the superior mesenteric (SMA), inferior mesenteric (IMA) and celiac arteries which supply the major blood flow to the intestines and if narrowed or occluded may be the source of the patient’s symptoms.
Hepato-Portal Evaluation: Evaluation of blood flow and direction in the native hepatic arteries, hepatic veins and portal venous system and/or various shunts (placed by surgeons or Interventional Radiologists) all of which may be affected by acute or chronic liver disease (such as cirrhosis & chronic hepatitis) and malignancy.
Dialysis Access Graft Evaluation: Over 100, 000 patients in the United States are currently on chronic hemodialysis for kidney failure. Graft evaluation is performed to assess for narrowing/stenosis or graft occlusion which may be treatable to keep this valuable lifeline open.