Vascular Ultrasound

Patient Prep:
A patient must fast 4 hours prior to their appointment for Vascular Ultrasounds that include an Abdominal Aorta and/or Renal Artery.    
Risk Factors for Vascular Disease:

    1.  Age                        6.  High Cholesterol

    2.  Sex                        7.  High Blood Pressure

    3.  Family History       8.  Sedentary Lifestyle 

    4.  Race                      9.  Excess Weight 

    5.  Smoking               10.  Diabetes   


What is a Vascular Ultrasound? 


A Vascular Ultrasound a non-invasive ultrasound method (also called a duplex study) used to examine the circulation in the blood vessels of the body.  Vascular ultrasound can be used to evaluate arteries or veins in nearly any part of the body, including blood vessels in the neck, abdomen, arms and legs.  Non-invasive means the procedure does not require the use of needles or anesthesia.  Unlike other imaging tests, ultrasound does not require radiation or contrast dye.


How is the procedure performed?

During a vascular ultrasound study, sound waves are transmitted through the tissues of the area being examined.  These sound waves reflect off of blood cells moving within the blood vessels, and return to the ultrasound machine.  The sound waves are recorded and displayed on a computer screen to make an image of the blood vessel.  The speed of the sound waves returning to the ultrasound machine allow for calculation of the speed of blood flow in the vessel. When the speed of the blood flow in the blood vessel is too fast, this indicates a narrowing (blockage). 

Why do we use Vascular Ultrasounds?

Evaluation of blood flow in the arteries and veins of the body to detect the presence, severity, and specific location of disease.  Vascular ultrasounds can diagnosis narrowing of arteries and determine the severity of narrowing.  It can also be used to diagnose blood clots in veins of the arms and legs, a condition know as deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

Benefits of a Vascular Ultrasounds:

It is non-invasive and does not require exposure to radiation or contrast dye (which can damage kidneys).  It is also a terrific test because it is one the few that gives physiological information about blood flow in the arteries and veins.  Ultrasound in also highly portable compared to other types of vascular imaging (such as CAT scans or MRI).

The Future of Vascular Ultrasounds:

New technology is allowing use to use vascular ultrasound for assessment of vascular disease in the abdomen (such as kidney arteries, abdominal aortic aneurysms).  Vascular ultrasound is also the most commonly used test to follow-up patients after they have undergone a vascular procedure such as a bypass graft or stent.