Venous Ultrasound of Upper & Lower Extremity Arterial Doppler Studies

Introduction:
The Arterial Doppler ultrasound uses sound waves at a frequency that is higher than humans are able to hear to produce images on a monitor for the purpose of evaluating the arterial blood flow to the upper extremities (arms) and lower extremities (legs).

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This type of ultrasound shows if there is a blockage in arm or  leg vein. Such blockages are usually caused by blood clots, which can be dangerous and even lifethreatening if they break loose and travel through the blood to the lungs. If you have pain or swelling in one leg, your doctor may order an ultrasound to determine whether your symptoms are caused by a blockage.

It is used to evaluate:
*Numbness and tingling sensations in the hands, arms, feet and legs
*Sensation of fatigue and heaviness in the arms and legs
*To investigate the possibility of thoracic outlet syndrome.

Procedure:

For the Arterial Doppler exam a blood pressure cuff is applied to each of the arms and legs and a pressure is recorded for each extremity cuff. The pulse is also taken and recorded for each of the extremities. The patient may then be exercised and blood pressure recordings repeated or an ultrasound may be performed to assess the arteries for the location and the amount of narrowing.

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When evaluating for thoracic outlet syndrome of the upper extremities, the patient will be asked to perform a series of arm movements while recordings are documented.

The Arterial Doppler studies take approximately 60-90 minutes.

After squirting some clear jelly onto the inside of one of your arms or thighs to help the ultrasound sensor slide around easily, a technician or doctor places the sensor against your skin. Once it’s in place, an image appears on a video screen, and the technician or doctor moves the sensor up and down along your leg – from the groin to the calf – to view the veins from different angles. The examiner presses the sensor into your skin firmly every few inches to see if the veins change shape under pressure. He or she then checks your other leg in the same way. As the machine measures the blood flowing through a vein, it makes a swishing noise in time with the rhythm of your heartbeat. This test usually takes 15-30 minutes.Most people don’t feel any discomfort, but if your leg was swollen and sensitive to the touch before the test, the pressure of the sensor might cause some tenderness.

How do You prepare for the test? No preparation is necessary.

Risk Factors: There are no risks
How long is it before the result of the test is known?
A radiologist reviews a videotape of your ultrasound and checks for signs of blockages in the veins.Your doctor should receive a report within a few hours to a day.

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/venous-ultrasound-of-the-legs.shtml
http://www.advanceddiagnosticimagingpc.com/vascular/extremity.htm

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