Diagnostic Vascular Screening & Testing
Screening is an important first step to improved vascular health, especially because many of the most severe disorders such as aortic aneurysms have few if any symptoms. At Mercy Health System, screening for urgent or emerging vascular disease follows current evidence-based medical recommendations.
Vascular laboratory testing is used to diagnose:
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD): Blockages in the circulation to the arms or legs due to atherosclerosis or other disease which may threaten the limbs.
- Cerebrovascular Disease: Blockages in the arteries to the brain that may increase risk of stroke.
- Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT): Blood clots in the veins that could migrate to the heart and lungs.
- Chronic Venous Disease: Varicose veins and other disorders that cause leg swelling or leg ulcers.
- Renal Artery Disease: Circulatory disorders of the kidneys that cause hypertension (high blood pressure) or kidney failure.
- Aortic Aneurysms: A ballooning of the major artery that can cause a fatal rupture.
- Other vascular disease and conditions.
Testing is typically painless and non-invasive. Our Vascular Centers' offer a broad range of screening and non-invasive diagnostic tests.
Diagnostic Tests & Procedures
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
ABI is a test that measures and compares the blood pressure in the arms and legs of a person in order to identify any blood flow problems.
Aorta Duplex Scan
The aorta duplex examination uses ultrasound and Doppler to measures the size and blood flow of the abdominal aorta to determine if an aneurysm is present. The examination is painless and the only preparation required is no eating after midnight prior to the test.
Arterial Duplex Scan
The arterial duplex test is similar to the venous duplex and is used to determine the circulation in the arteries. The procedure evaluates native arteries as well as arteries that are blocked and have been bypassed with a graft. Surveillance of bypass grafts enables the physician to prevent future blockages and possible limb loss from lack of circulation.
Carotid Duplex Scan
Carotid duplex is a type of ultrasound that is used to determine whether plaque or other matter is blocking blood flow in the carotid arteries. Carotid duplex evaluations of the arteries in the neck is the most accurate test available to determine if a patient has carotid artery disease. Plaque buildup in the carotid artery can break up into small particles and the force of blood flow can send these particles into smaller vessels in the brain which can cause a stroke. Carotid duplex uses ultrasound technology to accurately image and record the appearance and the amount of blockage within the carotid arteries. This information is critical to the physician to determine the course of treatment for a patient.
Dialysis Graft Surveillance
The dialysis graft surveillance procedure is painless and requires no preparation. Obtains detailed images of the dialysis access grafts in the arms of patients receiving dialysis treatments. These access devices are subject to wear from being utilized several times a week for dialysis, and the test can determine if the graft is potentially closing and requires replacement.
Hepatoportal Duplex Scan
This examination requires fasting as the procedures uses ultrasound and Doppler to evaluate the blood flow of the veins in the liver. This procedure may also take up to two hours to complete.
Lower/Upper Arterial Doppler Evaluations
This test is used to assess the circulation in the arms or legs. The examination does not use ultrasound but can determine if the circulation is affected by blockages. This test can give the physician information needed to determine which further procedures the patient might need. The test consists of utilizing specialized blood pressure cuffs and Doppler probes to accurately measure blood pressures.
Renal Artery Duplex Scan
Renal artery duplex scan is a type of ultrasound used to evaluate blood flow to the kidneys and to determine if there is any significant narrowing in the arteries that go to the kidneys. This test is usually ordered for patients with severe high blood pressure or who appear to be losing kidney function. The exam uses the same technology as carotid and venous examinations. Fasting is required prior to the test to ensure that the ultrasound beam can reach the kidneys without interference from swallowed air or food. This examination may take up to two hours to complete due to the depth and size of the vessels being evaluated.
Venous Duplex Scan & Venous Mapping
Venous duplex is a highly accurate ultrasound test that visualizes the inside of veins used to asses blood flow. This test is ordered if a physician suspects a patient may have a blood clot in the vein. The test can be performed on the arms or legs. There is no patient preparation for this test nor are needles involved. The test is painless and results are immediate.
Venous mapping is a type of ultrasound used to identify a vein in the arm or leg that can be removed (harvested) and used to bypass a diseased vein in the heart or legs.