Vascular ultrasound 101

Health & Medical Blog

An ultrasound uses sound waves to visualize different parts of the different body systems in people and animals. If your physician orders a vascular ultrasound, it means he or she wants to get a closer look at your circulatory system — the system that transports blood throughout the body — such as the arteries, veins and heart. Here is what you should know about this procedure.

Does a vascular ultrasound have risks or hurt?

No. A vascular ultrasound is a safe and pain-free procedure. A gel is applied to the area of the body the doctor wants to look at and then a small probe called a transducer is placed on the gel. The ultrasound technician then glides the transducer over the area, and it sends pictures back to a small screen. It does not use any radiation like x-rays or other diagnostic testing methods do.

Why does a physician order a vascular ultrasound?

A vascular ultrasound is useful for determining how the blood is flowing through the body. The procedure can identify areas where circulation is poor or obstructed by narrowing arteries and veins. A vascular ultrasound can also detect blood clots in the major veins located in the arms and legs.

A vascular ultrasound is also used by a physician to determine if a patient is a good candidate for an angioplasty, which is repairing a heart artery. A vascular ultrasound is also used during other procedures to guide needles or other instruments.

Is any special preparation required by the patient before a vascular ultrasound?

If the physician will be looking at your abdominal area, they may ask you not to eat before the procedure. This will ensure that your digestive system is calm and doesn't interfere with the picture quality. Otherwise, no special preparation is required. Depending on the location on the body the doctor will examine, you may be asked to remove your clothing or change into a hospital gown.

Does a vascular ultrasound require being confined in a small space?

No. When you have a vascular ultrasound, you are simply laying on a table or bed. It is not like another diagnostic procedure that may require you enter a tunnel. The room may be darkened so the technician can better see the monitor the pictures are displayed on, but there is nothing confining about the procedure.

How long does it take to get the results of a vascular ultrasound?

The radiologist will read the pictures and notify your doctor of the results. Depending on whether they find something wrong or not, you may find out right away or it may not be until a day or two later.

For more information on vascular ultrasounds, contact a doctor.


30 October 2019

Quitting smoking at last

I have tried to quit smoking three times over the last few years, but it never really stuck. My mother just got diagnosed with lung cancer, and it's given me the wakeup call that I have been waiting for. I have quit smoking again, but this time I spoke to my doctor before I started and it's made a lot of difference. He organised some nicotine replacement products and counselling to help me quit for good this time. I have started this blog to let people know how much easier it is to quit when your doctor is helping you.