Vascular studies are painless examinations used to examine your arteries and veins’ blood flow.
In this examination, ultrasound (a high-frequency sound wave) determines the quantity of blood flowing through blood vessels. Your skin is touched by a tiny transducer held in your hand, and sound waves travel to the blood arteries through your skin and other body tissues. The blood cells reflect the sound waves, and the computer receives these echoes, displayed as images or videos on a screen.
Following specialized ultrasound technology may be used for vascular studies, such as;
- Doppler Sound: It enables a medical professional to observe blood flow through veins and arteries. An indication of a vessel’s aperture size reflects the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat. A blockage may exist if a Doppler ultrasonography detects irregular blood flow in an artery.
- Colour Doppler: Doppler ultrasound technology has improved, in which various colors indicate the direction of blood flow.
Why do we need Vascular Studies?
The vascular study is used to;
- Examine any indications that the neck, legs, or arms may have diminished blood flow in arteries or veins.
- Examine the techniques used in the past to increase blood flow to a particular place.
- Examine a vascular dialysis system (e.g., an A-V fistula in the arm).
Your doctor’s recommendation for a vascular investigation could also be based on other factors.
Moreover, the following health issues could cause diminished blood flow in veins or arteries;
- Atherosclerosis: It is a long-term, gradual narrowing of the arteries caused by blood-stream lipids (plaque) and other chemicals.
- Aneurysm: It is a widening (dilation) of a section of the heart muscle or a major artery (the aorta) that can weaken the tissue.
- Embolus or thrombus: A thrombus is a clot formed in a blood vessel. A small substance called ’embolus’ travel through blood arteries to another body part but becomes lodged there.
- Inflammation-related illnesses: Blood vessel swelling (inflammation) can be brought on by an injury or an irritating medication that enters the vessel. Infection or an autoimmune condition may also cause inflammation-related diseases.
- Dilated veins: These are large and protruding leg veins. It happens when the leg veins’ valves malfunction, causing an accumulation of blood in the lower leg.
The following signs of decreased blood flow to your legs include;
- Leg ache or weakness during exercising (claudication)
- Leg aches, tenderness, redness, or warmth
- Chilly and pale skin, possibly even grey or blue in tone
- Tingling or numbness
- Standing eases foot pain that occurs while sitting or lying down
The vascular investigation is carried out when the doctor feels the decreased blood flow in your arms, legs, or neck.
Types of Vascular Studies:
Vascular investigations come in various forms. Its type will be determined based on symptoms and the kind of vascular issue you are experiencing; it includes;
- Investigation of pulse volume recording (PVR): This type of vascular investigation is done to measure blood flow in your arms or legs. After inflating the blood pressure cuffs, the Doppler probe calculates your arm or leg blood pressure.
- Duplex Carotid Scan (DCS): DCS is used to examine carotid arteries in your neck. The arteries shown in a 2D (2-dimensional) picture reveal the design of the arteries, any blocked areas, and the efficiency of blood flow.
- Duplex scan of the carotid artery. This kind of vascular ultrasonography can examine your neck’s carotid arteries for blockages or stenosis. It can also examine the carotid artery’s branches.
Your healthcare provider may order additional relevant tests or procedures depending on your health issue.