What do I need to bring to the vascular ultrasound exam?
For a vascular ultrasound exam, all you need to bring is the referral sheet from your doctor as well as your insurance identification card.
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is like ordinary sound except it has a frequency higher than humans can hear. It is emitted from a probe resting on the patient’s skin and is reflected off internal structures, like blood vessels, back to the probe. The returning signals are then converted by the ultrasound system into an image of the blood vessels and/or representation of blood flow which are viewed on a video screen. These continually changing images are recorded in real time on videotape for later review by an associate physician.
What occurs during a vascular ultrasound exam?
The technologist will obtain a brief medical history and perform an appropriate physical exam which will usually include taking blood pressures. The technologist will have you lie on an examination table and position you to allow for optimal access and visualization of the blood vessels of interest.
An ultrasound probe (also called a transducer), along with gel, will be applied over the skin and manipulated to obtain images of the blood vessels and to assess blood flow. The technologist will be talking into a microphone throughout the test as the ultrasound data and the technologist’s comments are being recorded on videotape for later review.
If you are undergoing evaluation for the lower extremity arteries, you may be asked to walk on a treadmill so that changes related to exercise can be evaluated.
If you are having a cerebrovascular evaluation the technologist will use ultrasound to look at arteries in your neck and head to evaluate the blood flow to your brain.
If you are having a peripheral arterial or venous evaluation, ultrasound will be used to evaluate blood flow in your legs and/or arms.
If you have been referred for one or more of the abdominal vascular evaluations, ultrasound will be used to evaluate blood flow to your abdominal organs.
Who will perform the Vascular exam?
A professionally trained and certified Registered Vascular Technologist will perform your vascular ultrasound examination. Each technologist is tested and certified through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).
Will the exam be painful? Is the exam safe?
There is no pain associated with a vascular ultrasound exam, however you may notice discomfort if you have tenderness or swelling in the region being examined. There are no known harmful side effects associated with ultrasound. Sound waves are used to create images and have not been linked to any harmful side effects.
How long does the exam take?
A vascular ultrasound exam generally takes thirty to sixty minutes depending on the exam being performed; however the exam could last longer if needed.
How do I need to prepare for the vascular ultrasound exam?
Generally you do not need to do anything special for a vascular ultrasound exam, however if your test is requiring the technologist to look at your abdomen fasting (refraining from eating for 8 hours) may be required. Please ask your doctor for further instructions if you are diabetic. Our scheduling staff will inform you if you need to fast for your particular exam.