Vascular UltrasoundA Vascular Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to produce pictures of your body’s veins and arteries. Ultrasound images do not use radiation as x-rays do. This diagnostic tool is a non-invasive test to help your physician diagnose and treat problems with your body’s circulatory system.
Vascular ultrasound monitors blood flow to organs and tissues throughout your body to help locate and identify blockages or abnormalities. Ultrasound is instrumental in detecting blood clots also known as DVT’s or deep vein thrombosis. It is also useful in identifying narrowing of blood vessels as well as enlarged arteries. A Doppler Ultrasound is effective in evaluating blood flow through a blood vessel, including your body’s major arteries and veins in your abdomen, arms, legs and neck.
Ultrasounds use a small hand held device called a transducer which is attached by a cord to a computer and video display screen. The transducer is placed against your skin and an ultrasound gel is used to help the transducer glide smoothly. It sends out high frequency sound waves and then listens for echoes to bounce back after striking the tissues in your body.
This principle is similar to the way sonar is used in boats and submarines. The resulting image created by an ultrasound wave is based on the strength, frequency and time it takes for the sound signal to travel from the transducer, to your body and then back to the transducer. A Doppler ultrasound measures the direction and speed of your blood cells as they move through your vessels.
Ultrasounds are painless exams and are typically completed in 30 to 45 minutes.