(Also Called ‘Non-Invasive Diagnostic Testing/Imaging – Vascular’, ‘Vascular Disease Testing’)
VCC’s Vascular Laboratory performs non-invasive studies such as ultrasounds, segmental pressures and pulse volume recordings to detect vascular disease. Ultrasound is the most important tool in the vascular laboratory. Ultrasound machines are used to take pictures of blood vessels and blood flow in these vessels with color Doppler and pulsed Doppler. Segmental pressures and pulse volume recordings are other important tools used in a vascular laboratory. These tests are performed to locate the area of blockage in the arms and legs.
After a physician’s physical examination, testing in a vascular laboratory is often the first step in diagnosing vascular disease. Specific tests that will be done will depend on the patient’s symptoms and the suspected vascular problems. Diagnosing vascular disease begins by taking a careful medical history, including risk factors and a physical exam (including symptoms, temperature of the skin, appearance of limbs and blood vessels, and presence or absence of pulses).
From this information, the physician decides if further testing is needed. Testing is performed by a vascular technologist/sonographer. Non-invasive testing utilizes various types of technology to evaluate flow, perfusion and pressures within the vessels at rest and with exercise. These procedures are generally painless and can help to determine if blood vessel disease is present, the location, and severity. Once a test is completed, the images are sent to a physician for review and interpretation. From the results of these tests, the physician will determine the need for more non-invasive testing or procedures to treat vascular disease.
Studies performed in the non-invasive vascular laboratory include:
- Carotid artery ultrasound
- Renal artery ultrasound
- Aorta and peripheral artery ultrasound
- Pulse volume recordings/ABI of the upper and lower extremities
- Exercise and treadmill testing of both upper and lower extremities (respectively)
- Venous ultrasound of both the upper and lower extremities
- Venous reflux testing
- Vein mapping
- Arterial mapping studies
- Upper and lower extremity graft surveillance
- Venous plethysmography