Ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging scan that uses sound waves to “see” inside your body. At the Vascular Institute of Virginia, we have an expert team of vascular physicians, nurses, and vascular technologists who are highly trained in ultrasound imaging.
What is Vascular Imaging?
Vascular imaging usually involves an ultrasound screening of a part of the body. This type of imaging, which does not involve radiation like x-rays, obtains images of internal organs, veins, and blood vessels by emitting sound waves through the skin and superficial tissues.
During a vascular imaging test, you may be lying down. The area of your body being observed will be exposed. The technician will apply gel to the skin and will place a small instrument called a transducer against it. Slight pressure may be applied while the transducer sends high-frequency sound waves into your body. The sound waves bounce back to the transducer when they reach an organ or vessel. This is translated into a real-time image.
Why is Vascular Imaging Done?
Your doctor may order vascular imaging to help diagnose the cause of certain symptoms. Additional purposes of a vascular ultrasound include:
- Observe the circulation of blood to tissues and organs.
- Identify stenosis (blockages) or conditions like emboli or plaque.
- Evaluate deep veins for thrombosis (DVT).
- Confirm that a person is a good candidate for angioplasty or other vascular procedures.
- Look for signs of an aneurysm (enlarged artery).
- Evaluate blood vessels that have been treated with grafting or bypass surgery.
- Evaluate varicose veins.
What is a Venous Duplex Ultrasound Scan?
A venous duplex ultrasound is a common form of vascular imaging that looks at the blood flow through specific blood vessels and arteries. This test is often done on the legs or arms but may also be performed to observe abdominal structures or veins in the neck area for signs of blockage or diminished blood flow.
What is Venous Doppler Imaging?
Doppler ultrasound is an integral aspect of duplex vascular ultrasound imaging in many cases. Traditional ultrasound provides us with the imaging that is needed to assess veins and arteries for blockages and the level of circulation that is occurring. The Doppler effect enhances the results of the traditional ultrasound by recording the sound waves that bounce off of moving material. Doppler ultrasound technology allows us to hear what we're seeing to better evaluate what's happening in the area of study. Doppler/Duplex vascular imaging may be performed to evaluate a person for peripheral artery disease. It's also performed before and after medical procedures that seek to restore circulation to an area.
What is Renal Duplex Ultrasound?
There are areas of your body in which arteries are referred to in relation to the organ they supply. Renal arteries are responsible for the blood flow to your kidneys. If you have a narrowing of the arteries that feed the kidneys, you may be diagnosed with renal artery disease. Hypertension, high blood pressure, is one of the primary symptoms of renal artery disease, so may be a cause for testing. The narrowing of the arteries to the kidneys can lead to kidney failure, so testing is imperative to your health and well-being.
Renal artery duplex ultrasound is a non-invasive, accurate form of imaging that can indicate blood flow velocity and patterns in blood flow that can help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.