Vascular diagnostic testing is the processes of looking at a person’s blood flow. Oxygenated blood flows from the heart to the body through arteries, and once deoxygenated, is returned to the heart by veins. Arteries and veins make up a person’s venous, or vascular testing.
Sometimes, arteries and veins become narrowed or blocked, preventing blood from flowing normally. When a physician suspects this is occurring, he or she will likely order a vascular study. These studies can include:
Ankle brachial index
A test to measure and compare the blood pressure in the arms and legs of in order to identify any blood flow problems.
Aortic duplex testing
A painless examination using ultrasound to measure the size and blood flow of the abdominal aorta to determine if an aneurysm is present.
Arterial duplex testing
This test is used to define circulation in the arteries. Arteries with and without blockages are evaluated, ultimately enabling the physician to prevent any future blockage in the patient.
Carotid duplex testing
This test is used to determine whether plaque or other matter is blocking blood flow in the carotid arteries. An ultrasound is used to record the appearance and the amount of arterial blockage. With this insight, the physician can determine the best treatment for the patient.
Renal and/or mesenteric duplex testing
Typically ordered for patients with high blood pressure or who appear to be losing kidney function, this test uses ultrasound to determine if arteries leading to the kidneys are too narrow.
Transcranial Doppler testing
This painless test uses ultrasound to examine the blood circulation within the brain. A small amount of gel substance is applied topically over the area to be examined. Then, a device called a transducer is held in place on the skin's surface, and blood flow information has been recorded.
This painless test uses ultrasound to create a “map” of the veins, typically in the leg. This might be done in preparation for various procedures, like bypass graft surgery (replacing diseased vessels in the body with a healthy vein from the leg).