If your doctor is concerned about any blockages in your veins or arteries, you may undergo a vascular imaging ultrasound.
Ultrasounds provide a noninvasive, painless way for vascular specialists to look for blood clots, evaluate blood circulation and check for narrow blood vessels, among other valuable information about the health of your veins and arteries.
When high-frequency sound waves travel from the ultrasound probe through transducer gel and into the body, the ultrasound probe picks up the sound that bounces back. Then a computer turns the sound waves into an image. A sonogram is another term for an ultrasound.
Ultrasounds do not produce radiation.
Conditions evaluated by vascular ultrasounds
Vascular ultrasound exams can evaluate:
- Blood flow to the brain, arms, legs, organs and feet.
- Celiac disease by looking at the intestines with an abdominal ultrasound.
- Leg pain and swelling – Blood clots in the legs can cause a condition called deep vein thrombosis. DVT can become life-threatening if the clot breaks away and passes into the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.
- Renal artery stenosis – Narrowing of arteries leading to the kidneys.
- Varicose veins – Enlarged veins in the legs.
Preparing for a vascular ultrasound
In most cases, you will not need to do anything specific to prepare for your ultrasound. However, you will need to avoid eating or drinking anything for eight hours before the exam for abdominal scans.
For many vascular ultrasound scans, you won’t need to put on a hospital gown. The technologist may ask you to shift your clothes to reach the area being studied. If a technologist is looking at a carotid artery, we ask that you wear something that allows easy access to your neck.
Scans can range from 30 to 90 minutes. Most exams take about 45 minutes.
Unless the technologist discovers an issue that needs immediate care, such as a DVT, your healthcare provider will call you with the results in about 24 hours.
Choosing Spartanburg Regional for a vascular ultrasound
We recognize that any scans or tests can be unnerving. Our friendly and attentive ultrasound technologists, who are certified with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, will work to help you feel at ease.
Our ultrasound equipment is state-of-the-art, and we run a robust quality assurance program. Under this program, technologists, their coworkers, supervisors and physicians all review various studies to assess our techniques and make sure we’re providing the best imaging quality for our patients and doctors.