Vascular Lab - Diagnostic Tests
We have fifteen vascular labs for diagnostic testing. The majority of our labs labs are accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Committee (IAC) in vascular testing. All of our Registered Vascular Technologists have an accumulated 160 years experience in vascular testing. We offer ultrasounds and screenings related to every vein and/or artery in the body using the most advanced medical imaging equipment.
Each of our laboratories has state-of-the-art ultrasound imaging equipment to aid in getting precise images for accurate analysis and diagnosis.
What is an Ultrasound Test
Ultrasound is a primary diagnostic and visualization tool because of its convenience, safety, and effectiveness. Ultrasound produces images of internal structures through the use of high-frequency sound waves, whose echoes are used to create moving and still images.
This visualization allows the doctor to target the location and precise nature of the problem area. Additionally, all image recording happens in “real” time as soon as the machine is turned on and placed on the body. There is no wait for any sort of picture development needed for x-rays and other imaging procedures.
We Offer The Following Tests:
Many healthcare providers will prescribe an arterial test to diagnose P.A.D. – Peripheral Arterial Disease. An arterial Doppler is performed as the first step in testing blood flow for patients complaining of leg pain. If the Doppler is abnormal, your healthcare provider may request an additional test called a Duplex. The Duplex uses ultrasound technology to look at the artery and find the blockage causing the decreased blood flow.
During the arterial test, blood pressure is taken with a cuff at the arm, thigh, calf, ankle and toe, and an ultrasound device is moved across the area to detect blood flow through the areas before and after the blood pressure cuff is inflated. Patients may experience mild cramping as the cuff cuts off circulation in the targeted area. This procedure usually takes about 45 minutes to perform, and patients can return to their regular activities immediately after.
A carotid Doppler ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images of the carotid arteries within the neck. The carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain, which is essential for many neurological conditions. This test allows your doctor to detect any narrowing of the arteries and also determine how quickly blood flows through them to determine a patient’s risk of stroke or other heart conditions.
The carotid Doppler ultrasound is most commonly performed on patients who:
- Recently had a stroke
- Have an abnormal sound in the carotid artery
- May have blood clots in the carotid artery
- Have damage in the walls of the carotid artery
- Recently had carotid artery surgery
During the ultrasound procedure, the patient will lie on their back and the doctor will apply a cool gel to the area on the neck where the arteries are located. A transducer will then be moved over the area to give off sound waves and produce images of the arteries, which are displayed on a computer screen during the test. Different colors that appear on the images determine the speed of the blood flowing through. A carotid Doppler ultrasound can be performed in your doctor’s office and usually takes less than 30 minutes.
There are no risks associated with a carotid Doppler ultrasound and patients can return to their regular activities immediately after. Your doctor will discuss the results of the carotid Doppler ultrasound with you right after the exam.
An aneurysm is a localized, balloon-like expansion in a blood vessel, caused by weak vessel walls. The abdominal aorta refers to the part of the aorta (the artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the legs) between the diaphragm and the legs. Hence, when a bulge occurs in the abdominal aorta, it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
If an aneurysm is suspected, your doctor may perform an aortic ultrasound in order to confirm this diagnosis. Patients at risk for this condition, including smokers and those over the age of 60, should be screened regularly for an aortic aneurysm.
Ultrasound imaging can be very useful in assessing the condition of the aorta. The sound waves utilized in scanning the aorta can give very detailed information concerning the blood flow and quality of musculature surrounding this vital tissue. In fact, the speed at which the blood is flowing through the very beginning of the aorta can reveal the heart’s condition as well.
The renal arteries carry blood to the kidneys. If these arteries become narrowed or blocked, it may lead to kidney failure or high blood pressure. Patients with early signs of these conditions can undergo a renal artery ultrasound that allows the doctor to view diagnostic images of the arteries. The condition of the artery is determined by measuring the speed of the blood flowing through it.
A renal artery ultrasound allows doctors to locate clots or narrowed areas within the arteries, and also determine the size of the kidney. Since there are often no symptoms present in the early stages of renal artery disease, this condition may be difficult to diagnose without an effective ultrasound exam. It can also be used to evaluate the severity of a renal artery condition that has already been diagnosed.
This ultrasound is used to detect a narrowing in the arteries that lead to the intestine and is often done when patients have abdominal pain related to eating. This test also uses ultrasound waves and typically takes one hour. Patients should refrain from eating or drinking for eight hours prior to the test to allow the ultrasound waves to penetrate into the arteries.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot, also known as a thrombus, forms in a vein deep within the body. Clots most frequently form in the legs as a result of several different factors that can affect blood circulation and may involve damage to the inner lining of the vein, slow blood flow or thicker blood.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) often goes unnoticed because its symptoms are not always visible. Some people may experience pain, redness and swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet. Symptoms may not arise until a pulmonary embolism is present, which can cause chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.
One of our doctors will perform a physical evaluation, review of your medical and family histories, and a series of tests in order to diagnose your condition. A venous study can also be prescribed, using ultrasound technology to produce visible images of the clot, which only occur in veins. If a pulmonary embolism is suspected, additional testing may be performed, such as a lung ventilation perfusion scan (VQ scan).