What Is Vascular Ultrasound Technology?
Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays), thus there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.
Our Ultrasound Technicians perform Vascular Ultrasounds in a variety of non-invasive diagnostic medical procedures through the use of high frequency sound waves to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. Our Technologists obtain accurate patient history, analyze technical information and summarize technical findings to the physician and collaborative health team members to help determine a diagnosis.
Vascular ultrasound provides pictures of the body’s veins and arteries.
A Doppler ultrasound study is usually part of a vascular ultrasound examination.
Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel, including the body’s major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs, neck and head (in infants and children).
Common Uses For Vascular Technology (VT)
Sonography is a useful way of evaluating the body’s circulatory system. Vascular ultrasound is performed to:
- help monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body.
- locate and identify blockages (stenosis) and abnormalities like plaque or emboli and help plan for their effective treatment.
- detect blood clots (deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the major veins of the legs or arms.
- determine whether a patient is a good candidate for a procedure such as angioplasty.
- evaluate the success of procedures that graft or bypass blood vessels.
- determine if there is an enlarged artery (aneurysm).
- determine the source and severity of varicose veins.
In children, ultrasound is used to:
- aid in the placement of a needle or catheter into a vein or artery to help avoid complications such as bleeding, nerve injury or pseudo-aneurysm (abnormal outpouching of an artery with the risk of rupture).
- evaluate a connection between an artery and a vein which can be seen in congenital vascular malformations (arteriovenous malformations or fistula) and in dialysis fistula.
If a line is placed in an artery or vein of the legs or arms, there is a much higher chance of developing a clot around it due to the smaller vessel size (especially in infants and young children). In some instances, a clot can form in the arm or in the left leg with the latter extending into the major vein of the abdomen. Plaque formation is not frequently seen in children but there can be compression at the inlet of the chest.
Doppler ultrasound images can help the physician to see and evaluate:
- blockages to blood flow (such as clots).
- narrowing of vessels.
- tumors and congenital vascular malformations.