------------------------ Vascular Ultrasound - Doctors in Italy ------------------------

VASCULAR ULTRASOUND, INCLUDING DUPLEX, CAROTIDS, AORTA AND EXTREMITIES

A vascular ultrasound is performed to evaluate the body’s circulatory system (i.e. arteries and veins). A duplex ultrasound uses sound waves to create a color map of the arteries and veins to help monitor the blood flow throughout the body. It will help to locate and identify narrowing of your vessels, malformations and plaques in your arteries or detect blood clots in the major veins of the legs or arms, and plan for their appropriate treatment.  

CAROTID ARTERIES SCAN

The carotid ultrasound scan is most frequently performed to detect narrowing of the carotid artery, a condition that substantially increases the risk of stroke. Detecting a build-up of plaque in the carotid arteries early can help prevent a debilitating and potentially fatal stroke from occurring.  

How the scan is done?

You will be asked to lie down on the examination bed with a pillow or small support under your neck and shoulders. The doctor will apply a special gel on the skin and will move the probe along the right and left side of your neck from your clavicle to your jaw line. At different times you will hear unusual sounds, like your heartbeat, as the doctor views and records the blood flowing through the carotid arteries.  

How do I prepare

There is no particular preparation for this exam. If possible wear a comfortable shirt, preferably with no collar or with an open one. Don’t wear a necklace or dangling earrings.  

AORTA SCAN

The aorta is the main artery in the body. It descends through the chest and the abdomen and carries blood from the heart to all parts of the body through the systemic circulation. If the walls of the aorta become weak, they may swell or bulge out. This condition it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). AAA will not always cause problems, but a ruptured aneurysm can be life threatening. Ultrasound imaging of the aorta is essential for measuring its size to screen for AAA. Screening is particularly recommended those who have ever smoked and for anyone with a family history of AAA.  

How the scan is done?

You will be positioned lying face-up on an examination table. The doctor will apply a special non-greasy gel on the skin and will move the probe on your abdomen and ribcage to gather the images of your organs, that will be displayed on the screen. You may experience mild pressure from the probe, as it passes over your abdomen.The doctor may ask you to take a breath and hold it during the scanning. This allows to see structures more clearly because they are not moving, obtaining the best images of your organs.  

How do I prepare?

You should not have anything to eat for 4-6 hours before the procedure. You can drink as much water as you like. You should take your usual daily medication with some liquid in the morning. The test might not be helpful in the presence of stool or air in the stomach or intestines.  It is best to avoid food that produces flatulence for a few days before the procedure.  

VENOUS ULTRASOUND

This exam evaluate veins of the upper or lower limbs to check for blood clots or to identify the cause of the varicose veins or of long-standing leg swelling. This is currently the most widely used method of diagnosing or ruling out thromboses or clots.  

How the scan is done?

You will need to remove you trousers or skirt. The doctor will apply some water-based gel on your skin and then place the probe against your limb, moving it back and forth over the area of interest.The leg is examined from the groin to just below the knee. You may be asked to lay on our back or stand up, depending on the purpose of the exam. The doctor will press the probe against your leg to cause the veins to squeeze closed momentarily. This is the correct method of checking for a blood clot. The pressure may be slightly uncomfortable but only for the few seconds it takes to evaluate each segment of the vein down the leg. The Doppler exam is then performed using the same probe. The doctor will apply a pressure on your calf to cause the blood to move up, and to make sure that no backflow is present.  

How do I prepare?

You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure. No special preparation is required for a venous ultrasound.    

LOWER LIMB ARTERIES

Symptoms of leg arterial disease may include a cramp-like pain on walking. The pain can get so intense that it may be necessary to stop and rest. This pain can occur in the calves, thigh, buttocks or hips. An arterial duplex ultrasound uses sound waves to create a color map of the arteries in your legs to identify narrowing of your vessels that may be causing leg pain, foot, ankle, heel or toe ulcers, or skin discoloration.  

How the scan is done?

You will need to remove you trousers or skirt. You will lie down on the bed and gel will be put on your leg, while the doctor scans the area of interest

How do I prepare?

You will need to remove you trousers or skirt. The doctor will apply some water-based gel on your skin and then place the probe against your limb, moving it back and forth over the area of interest.The leg is examined from the groin to just below the knee.