The same technology that can reveal the shape of a baby before it’s born can also evaluate your blood vessels and how well the blood moves through them. A healthy vascular system is necessary for your heart health, for injuries to heal, and for your overall good health.
One of the services we offer at Heart & Vascular Institute is vascular ultrasound. There are different types of vascular ultrasound, and our experts request the procedure most likely to reveal any vascular problems you may have.
How ultrasound works
Ultrasound is sometimes referred to as a sonogram. It uses sound waves to create an image.
When you have an ultrasound, a technician puts a special gel that conducts sound waves on the area being examined. They then place an instrument called a transducer firmly against your skin and slide it around.
The transducer sends sound waves through your skin, and those waves bounce back. A computer captures the sound waves and uses them to produce an image.
Ultrasound is safe, doesn’t involve radiation, and doesn’t require an injection most of the time. It’s noninvasive and painless.
Ultrasound and blockages
Vascular ultrasound can show how the blood moves through your blood vessels. If you have a blockage, a vascular ultrasound could detect it.
Atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque inside your blood vessels, can cause problems, including peripheral artery disease and coronary artery disease. As the plaque builds up, your blood vessels become stiffer and narrower and your blood doesn’t flow as well as it should.
Ultrasound may also detect problems like a blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis. A clot can limit how much blood flows through a vessel at a given point, and that kind of blockage appears in ultrasound imaging.
Once your doctor receives the results of your ultrasound, they suggest a plan for treating any blockages detected. The treatment depends on the type of blockage you have. Peripheral artery disease, for example, calls for a different treatment plan than deep vein thrombosis.
In some cases, lifestyle changes are necessary, such as quitting smoking or increasing your physical activity. You may need medication to help reduce the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels.
Surgical intervention, such as placing a stent or performing an angioplasty, may also be necessary. As always, it’s crucial for you to get medical advice based on your specific situation that accounts for your symptoms and results of tests such as vascular ultrasound.
If you have questions about vascular ultrasound, or your doctor has recommended you have this imaging test, contact the Heart & Vascular Institute location nearest you, in Dearborn, Detroit, or Southfield, Michigan, to schedule an appointment.