Vascular Ultrasound

A vascular ultrasound is a diagnostic medical test that measures how well blood moves through your blood vessels. It combines traditional ultrasound technology with Doppler ultrasonography to create a picture from the sound waves that bounce off the veins and arteries.

The Doppler aspect captures sound waves as they bounce off moving, like the blood flowing through your vessels.

It is able to calculate flow rate as well as study the flow in other ways to get an overall picture of how well blood is moving through your body.

There are several uses for the vascular ultrasound.

The test can be performed over the abdomen to examine the arteries and veins in that area. This reveals the state of the aorta and whether an abdominal aortic aneurysm is present. An ultrasound can also be performed on the extremities when there are problems with the arms, hands, feet or legs. The test can also be performed on the kidneys and the connecting vessels. In addition, the carotid duplex ultrasound is a test that examines the carotid artery in your neck for clots, narrowing and aneurysms.

This type of ultrasound is used to help your doctor diagnose or rule out conditions like: an abdominal aneurysm, blood clot, varicose veins symptoms, carotid artery disease, venous insufficiency and arterial occlusion. There is generally no special preparation needed for the vascular ultrasound. However, if you are having one of these tests on your abdominal area, your doctor may ask you to fast from midnight the night before until after the test.

The vascular ultrasound is performed in the radiology department of a local hospital as an outpatient.

  • Then you will be on a table and expose the area to be tested.

  • The technician will smear some gel on your skin that helps the sound waves better penetrate your tissues.

  • The test is generally performed by a trained technician rather than a doctor. The technician takes the wand or transducer and moves it around in the gel over the testing area.

  • While the technician performs your test, you should attempt to keep as still as possible. The technician may want you to hold a certain position throughout the test or may want you to reposition yourself periodically.

  • The Doppler will emit a sound that is coordinated with your heart beat and blood movement. A picture will form on the monitor screen that reflects the appearance of your vessels.

  • During the test you will feel pressure from the transducer as the technician moves it across your skin, but there is no discomfort or pain associated with it.

  • While the test is performed by a technician, the test is read and evaluated by a physician so it may take a few days to get the results unless your test was done as an emergency procedure.

In that case you may know the results before you leave the building.


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