Vascular ultrasound is a painless and non-invasive procedure for measuring the blood flow in the body by transmitting sound waves into the tissue and measuring how they are reflected back. This is a safe and effective procedure, but other conditions can an ultrasound scan detect?
As the procedure measures the rate of blood flow in the veins, it can detect blood clots and deep vein thrombosis in the major veins of the arms and legs. Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, can be a serious condition which can lead to complications in other parts of the body — particularly if part of a clot breaks off and blocks the blood vessels leading to the lungs. Vascular ultrasounds can quickly detect these clots and give the sonographer a clear and real-time picture of the clot.
Stenosis is the narrowing of the arteries, which can reduce the flow of blood. This procedure can detect narrowing due to the reduced flow, and can show how serious this artery narrowing has become. It can also detect the build-up of plaque within the arteries, which can lead to a blockage in the blood vessels.
An aneurysm is a bulge or swelling of the arteries. This can be serious because if left untreated, the aneurysm can burst and cause life-threatening bleeding. Ultrasound scanning can detect this problem and is particularly useful in testing for an aneurysm in the aorta — the blood vessel that runs from the heart to the chest and abdominal regions. By detecting this problem early on, the scan can truly be a lifesaver for the patient.
Chronic venous insufficiency
This is a condition in which the valves in the veins of a patient's legs become damaged. These valves are present to ensure that the blood flows one way, as when they are damaged, some of the blood can leak backwards. Blood that pools in the legs due to damaged valves is known as stasis, and can lead to blood clots, ulcers or varicose veins. If untreated, it will eventually result in the blood vessels bursting. Stasis is easiest to treat if detected early, and an ultrasound scan can help to diagnose the condition.
All these conditions are caused by a problem with the blood flow, which is exactly what is measured by a vascular ultrasound scan. If your doctor recommends one, you can be assured that any problems will be detected quickly, and treated effectively.