What is Vascular Imaging

Vascular ImagingVascular imaging is a test that uses ultrasound (sound waves) to listen to and evaluate the blood flow, blood pressure, circulation and level of oxygen in the blood in your veins and arteries.

How is the Test Performed

Vascular imaging uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to measure the amount of blood flow in your blood vessels. A small handheld probe (transducer) is pressed against your skin. The sound waves move through your skin and other body tissues to the blood vessels. The sound waves echo off of the blood cells.

Why the Test is Performed

Your doctor can use this test to evaluate the blood flow to specific organs in your body. Vascular ultrasound can be used to evaluate:

  • The blood flow in the arteries in your neck that supply blood to the brain
  • The blood flow to a newly transplanted organ
  • Blood flow in the arteries to detect the presence, severity and specific location of a narrowed area of the arteries

How to Prepare for the Test

There is no special preparation before the test; you may take your usual medications and you may eat and drink as you normally would.

What To Expect During the Test

  • Your ultrasound test is performed by specially trained technologists and interpreted by a vascular physician.
  • You will lie on a padded examining table during the test.
  • A small amount of water-soluble gel is applied to the skin over the area to be examined. The gel does not harm your skin or stain your clothes.
  • A small device called a transducer is placed over the gel-coated area to be examined. The transducer produces images on the ultrasound screen. The transducer is held in place until the blood flow information has been recorded.
  • There may be some minor discomfort during the exam when the technologist applies pressure to your arms or legs. You may hear noises when the technologist listens to the blood flow and records the measurements.
  • Most vascular exams are scheduled for 60 minutes, and some of the most complicated exams can be scheduled for up to 120 minutes

Potential Risks of the Test

Studies have shown there are no harmful side effects of the vascular ultrasound test.