This test uses ultrasound to examine the blood flow in the major arteries and veins in the arms and legs.
How the test is performed
The test is done in the ultrasound or radiology department or in a peripheral vascular lab.
A water-soluble gel is placed on a handheld device called a transducer, which directs the high-frequency sound waves to the artery or veins being tested.
When examining the arteries, the following will also be done:
Blood pressure cuffs may be put around different parts of the body, including the thigh, calf, ankle, and different points along the arm. A paste is applied to the skin over the arteries being examined. Images are created as the transducer is moved over each area.
How to prepare for the test
You will need to remove clothing from the arm or leg being examined.
How the test will feel
There is little or no discomfort associated with this test.
Why the test is performed
This test is done as an alternative to arteriography and venography. It may help diagnose:
There are no risks specifically associated with this procedure.
Cigarette smoking may alter the results of this test, because nicotine can cause the arteries in the extremities to constrict.
Quitting smoking significantly lowers the risk of problems with the heart and circulatory system. Most smoking-related deaths are caused by cardiovascular problems, not lung cancer.
Ken Levin, MD, private practice specializing in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Allentown, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.