What Is Vascular Ultrasound?

Deep Vein ThrombosisWhat Is Vascular Ultrasound?

Vascular ultrasound, also known as “Sonography”, “Doppler Exams” or “Duplex Scans”  is a non-invasive procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the arteries and veins . Vascular ultrasound has begun to replace older, more invasive, radiology procedures for the diagnosis of vascular disease. The non-invasive nature of ultrasound makes it a safer, more cost-effective imaging procedure.

Some of it’s uses include:

  • The detection of narrowing (stenosis) or complete blockages of vessels throughout the body
  • The detection of blood clots in the veins (Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT)
  • Detecting aneurysms (abnormal ballooning) of vessels
  • Assess vessel viability for use as grafts
  • To assess the success of procedures

What Does “Vascular” Mean and What Is Vascular Disease?

“Vascular” refers to the body’s circulatory system which consists of arteries (blood vessels carrying oxygenated blood from the heart) and veins (blood vessels carrying oxygen depleted blood to the heart).

Vascular disease refers to the harmful changes that occur within the blood vessels over time.

What Is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

This refers to diseases of blood vessels outside the heart and brain. It’s often a narrowing of vessels that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach or kidneys. There are two types of these circulation disorders:

  • Functional peripheral vascular diseases don’t have an organic cause. They don’t involve defects in blood vessels’ structure. They’re usually short-term effects related to “spasm” that may come and go. Raynaud’s disease is an example. It can be triggered by cold temperatures, emotional stress, working with vibrating machinery or smoking.
  • Organic peripheral vascular diseases are caused by structural changes in the blood vessels, such as inflammation and tissue damage. Peripheral artery disease is an example. It’s caused by fatty buildups in arteries that block normal blood flow.

Last Modified: 10/14/2010
Created: 08/07/2010