Lower Limb Arterial and Venous Disease Ultrasound

Valuable diagnostics for three specific areas of Lower Limbs

Diagnostic Ultrasound is the first course of action to examine lower extremities (legs below the knee), particularly in cases of suspected Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). It is a non invasive procedure to see and evaluate both the superficial and deep venous systems, particularly to look for venous thrombosis and venous insufficiency.

Arterial: To examine presence of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD or PVD for Peripheral Vascular Disease) where large arteries are obstructed, a diagnostic ultrasound is essential, along with a patient Exercise Study (see further) to assess the value of blockage.

Ultrasound of the leg arteries involves looking at the blood supply from the heart to the arteries in the leg(s). This is a non invasive test that gives your doctor information needed in diagnosing peripheral arterial disease.

Your doctor may request an ultrasound of the arteries (vessels that carry blood from your heart) in your leg(s). Ultrasound is a procedure that uses sound waves to “see” inside your body. This procedure uses color to map the arteries in your leg(s) to identify narrowing of your vessels that may be causing leg pain when walking, resting leg pain, foot, ankle, heel or toe ulcers, or skin discoloration.

Exercise Study: Requires walking on a treadmill for a period of up to 20 minutes here at the South Sydney Vascular Centre. Pressure measurements are checked before and after exercise to assess ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI or ABI) relating to blood pressure and flow.

Venous: Ultrasound is used to assess varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) superficial thrombophlebitis and swollen legs.

Doppler Ultrasound Examination for Lower Limb

A hand-held Doppler probe provides a simple method for assessing the competence of veins in the lower limb. With the patient standing the Doppler probe is applied over the vein in question. Compression of the calf propels the blood up the leg and this can be heard with a Doppler probe. The calf is then released and if the valves are incompetent a reverse flow phase can be heard.

Before Your Exam

  • There is no preparation for this procedure.
  • We want to make your waiting time as pleasant as possible. Please consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass any time you may have to wait.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.

During Your Exam

  • The vascular technologist will explain your exam and answer any questions you may have.
  • Your procedure will be performed with you lying on the examination table on your back with your hands at your sides or on your stomach.
  • The technologist will apply warm gel to your leg(s).
  • A transducer, a small, microphone-like device, will be placed over various locations on your leg(s).
  • Blood pressure readings will be taken of your ankles. You will not feel any pain; however you will feel mild pressure from the blood-pressure cuff and the transducer.
  • Sound waves will bounce off the muscle and tissue in your body and off the blood moving in your arteries. This creates “echoes.” The echoes are reflected back to the transducer. A television monitor shows images as the transducer converts the echoes to electronic signals.
  • These images may be viewed immediately or photographed for further study.
  • You will hear unusual sounds as the technologist views and records the blood flowing through the arteries in your leg(s).
  • Your exam will take approximately 60 minutes.

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