What is vascular ultrasound?
Vascular ultrasound is a way of looking at veins and arteries using sound waves to create a picture. These pictures can provide information about the structure of the blood vessel, and the way the blood flows within it, and as a result we gain detailed information about an artery or a vein.
A sonographer will carry out the scan. Sonographers are highly trained and skilled at assessing and explaining the pictures. Confirmation of the scan results, clinical interpretation and any other recommendations, is the domain of the vascular surgeon, who is trained and credentialed in ultrasound.
Conditions we scan for and tests
The carotid arteries supply blood to the brain. Carotid disease may increase the risk of stroke. A scan can determine whether there is a blockage or a narrowing. So, following this, we will then discuss options with the patient, who may benefit from carotid artery surgery.
Arm arteries and veins
Arteries and veins pass out to the arms between the collar bone and the rib cage. Compression here may cause poor blood flow to the arms and the hands, as well as swelling and sometimes blood clots. Conditions that cause cold fingers, for example, Raynaud’s syndrome, sometimes require arm artery assessment and, as a result of this, effective treatments can begin.
Arteries and veins in the abdomen and pelvis
Scans look at all the major veins and arteries. This includes aorta, kidney arteries and arteries to the organs and intestines. Examples of these scans are abdominal aortic aneurysm monitoring and pelvic varicose veins assessment.
Leg arteries and veins
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
We also offer Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) tests to help diagnose arterial disease. This is a test that compares the blood pressure in your legs to the blood pressure in your arms and is a good indicator of whether you have arterial disease. Your GP may refer you for an ABI test.
How do I get ready for my vascular ultrasound scan?
Before your scan, we will give you instructions about what to do. This includes what to wear and whether you can eat or drink. Scans take between 30 and 60 minutes.