Desert Valley Radiology Phoenix Arizona
Women's Imaging

Vascular Studies

Your Ultrasound Exam
Common Vascular Ultrasound Studies

  • Carotid Arterial Duplex (Doppler)
  • Arterial Duplex (Doppler)
  • Renal Arterial Duplex
  • Aortic Duplex
  • Vein Mapping

What is Vascular Ultrasound Imaging?

Vascular Imaging involves the use of ultrasound and sending sound waves through the body. The sound waves bounce off the internal organs. They are then interpreted by special instruments that subsequently create an image of anatomic parts. No radiation (x-ray) is involved in vascular ultrasound imaging.

Ultrasound is a valuable tool when evaluating the body’s circulatory system. The images are captured in real-time to help radiologists monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body. With vascular ultrasound images, radiologists can identify stenosis or a blockage in blood vessels as well as blood clots, plaque, or emboli, and help plan for their effective treatment.

Vascular ultrasound images are measured and displayed by a computer in real-time. In addition, still frames can be capture as reproducible images. Vascular ultrasound can measure blood flow by changes in the pitch of the sound beam. This measurement is known as the Doppler effect and can be heard or detected with color depiction.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

Vascular ultrasound of the body’s veins and arteries can assist the radiologist in evaluating blockages in blood flow, like clots in veins and plaque in arteries. This information can often determine whether a patient is a likely candidate for a procedure. Ultrasound images may also be used in planning or to review the success of graft procedures. Ultrasound of the veins may identify blood clots that require treatment such as anticoagulant therapy (blood thinner) or filters to prevent clots from traveling to the lungs (embolism).

Ultrasound of the vascular system also provides a fast, noninvasive method of identifying blockages of blood flow in the neck arteries to the brain that might produce a stroke.

Preparing for Vascular Ultrasound

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. If your abdominal vessels are being studied, we will ask you to fast prior to the procedure. Otherwise, no special preparation is required.

How is the procedure performed?

You will be asked to lie on an examination table that tilts and moves.

A clear gel is applied to the area that will be examined. The gel helps to create a smooth pavement for scanning and eliminates air pockets. Sound waves are unable to penetrate air. The sonographer sweeps the transducer along the area of interest, reviewing the scans on the monitor and capturing key scans of interest.

Vascular ultrasound is used to evaluate veins as well as arteries and is often used to detect blot clots in the lower legs. This imaging request is often considered emergent in order to begin an immediate patient care plan.

When the examination is complete, you may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed and when indicated the radiologist has had an opportunity to communicate the results to your physician.

What should you expect?

Most ultrasound studies take a minimal amount of time and are painless. You will be asked to lie on an examining table that may be tilted or moved to provide access to the area that will be imaged. The sonographer or radiologist will spread some gel on your skin and then press the transducer firmly against your body, moving it until the desired images are captured. Most exams take less than 30 minutes; more complicated examinations may take longer.

When and how will you receive your results?

A radiologist experienced in ultrasound will review the images and prepare a report of the finding. The report will be sent to your personal physician. Your physician will discuss the results of the exam with you.

Vascular Ultrasound exams are performed at:

All Desert Valley Radiology Locations

To schedule an appointment, contact us.