Vascular studies are noninvasive procedures that use ultrasound, or high-frequency sound waves, to examine the flow of blood in your vessels and detect any vascular disease. There are several types of scans that can be done to help diagnose your condition.
Vascular studies: Types
Carotid Artery Duplex
A carotid artery exam includes scanning the carotid arteries, vertebral arteries and subclavian arteries. This study helps to detect blockages and dissections or tears in the inner layer of an artery. It can also be requested to evaluate symptoms such as difficulty speaking, loss of vision or a bruit, which is a vascular sound heard in the neck usually with a stethoscope.
This ultrasound test is used to assess for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) that can form in the deep veins of the lower limbs and lead to swelling and pain.
Venous insufficiency exam
An ultrasound study can also be used to detect reflux in the veins. Reflux occurs when there is impaired return of blood from the veins in the legs and feet. Symptoms can include swelling in the legs, varicose veins and ulcers.
Arterial Duplex scan
This ultrasound scan helps detect blockages of flow, dissections or tears in the artery wall and aneurysms, which are weakened areas that cause the walls to expand or balloon in size.
Ankle brachial index exam
This test compares the blood pressure in the upper and lower limbs to check for peripheral arterial disease (PAD).