Vascular Ultrasound

Vascular Ultrasound

What is it?

A vascular ultrasound is a non-invasive (not requiring needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia) ultrasound method (also called a duplex study) used to examine the blood circulation in the arms and legs.

How does it work?

During a vascular ultrasound, sound waves are transmitted through the tissues of the area being examined. These sound waves reflect off blood cells moving within the blood vessels, allowing the reading physician to calculate their speed. The sound waves are recorded and displayed on a computer screen.

Reasons for a Vascular Ultrasound

The test evaluates:

  • Blood flow in the carotid arteries (arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain)
  • Blood flow in arteries to detect a narrowing area of the arteries, the severity and specific location
  • Blood flow of a newly transplanted organ

What to expect

The entire test takes 30 to 90 minutes to complete and there is no discomfort, nor are there any side effects of the test. The patient will lie on an examination table. A technician will apply a water-soluble gel over the area to be examined. An instrument (transducer) is placed over the gel-coated area to produce images on the ultrasound screen. The transducer is held in place until the blood flow information is recorded.

St. Luke's Heart & Vascular