What is a vascular ultrasound?
Vascular ultrasounds are most commonly prescribed to check for blood clots and to assess blood flow to the brain. The most common vascular ultrasound is used to assess blood flow in the veins of your arms or legs when deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is suspected. In this procedure, the veins are compressed, and the blood flow is assessed to ensure there are no blockages. This procedure can also help identify leaky valves or venous insufficiency.
Frequently asked questions:
DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins of your body. These clots usually appear in your arms or legs and can cause swelling or pain.
DVT can develop if there are pre-existing medical conditions that affect how your blood clots or if you do not move for long periods of time due to accidents, bed rest, or surgeries.
Vascular Ultrasounds may be prescribed by your doctor for a variety of reasons including:
- Your doctor may suspect blockages in your arteries or veins
- To locate the source of the blockage
- Detect enlarged arteries (aneurysm)
- To determine if a patient is a candidate for other vascular procedures
No special preparations are required. Patients are able to eat and drink as they normally would.
You will lie on a padded exam table during the test. A small amount of gel is applied to the skin over the area to be examined. A small device called a transducer is placed over the gel-coated area to be examined. The transducer produces images on the ultrasound screen. The transducer is held in place until the blood flow information has been recorded.
There may be some minor discomfort during the exam when the technologist applies pressure to your arms or legs. You may hear noises when the technologist listens to the blood flow and records the measurements.
Although there are no inherent risks with a vascular ultrasound, some patients may experience discomfort with the pressure applied with the transducer, to the areas being examined. The pain is usually temporary and is experienced in tender areas usually caused by the swelling of veins.