How a Vascular Ultrasound Works
A vascular ultrasound is unlike other imaging tests. It does not require contrast dye or the use of radiation. Instead, high frequency sound waves are used to produce images of the blood vessels in your body.
A transducer is used to direct a beam of high frequency sound waves into the body. The sound waves reflect off of internal structures and send an echo back to the transducer. All of this information is processed by a computer, which creates an image of your vessels.
A vascular ultrasound also allows your cardiologist to determine the speed of blood flow. This is done by evaluating how quickly the sound waves return to the transducer. If the blood is moving too quickly, this may be an indication of narrowing or blockage.
This is a non-invasive procedure, so very little preparation is required. If your doctor will be examining the blood vessels in your abdomen, you may be instructed not to drink or eat for 24 hours. Although this is a painless procedure, you may still feel some discomfort from the pressure of the transducer. In most cases, exams last between 30 and 90 minutes.
Why Vascular Ultrasounds Are Used
Vascular ultrasounds are used to evaluate the blood flow in the veins and arteries, which can help your cardiologist detect disease. It can also help determine how severe the disease is and where it is located.
This procedure is often used to detect a narrowing of the arteries and the severity of the narrowing. In some cases, this type of ultrasound may be used to diagnose a blood clot in the arms or legs. This condition is also known as DVT, or deep vein thrombosis.
Aside from detecting disease, a vascular ultrasound may also be used as a follow-up procedure after patients have had a stent or bypass graft procedure.
Beverly Hills Cardiology
If you would like to learn more about vascular ultrasounds, or if have questions or concerns about the treatment of heart disease, please contact our experienced cardiologists today!