Vascular 


The warning signs of vascular disease often go unnoticed. There are simple, painless tests that help detect abdominal aortic aneurysms (abnormal enlargement of the main artery leading from the heart), carotid artery disease (narrowing of the artery that supplies blood to the brain) and peripheral artery disease (blockages in arteries in the legs).  If left untreated, these can lead to rupture of vital arteries, stroke, loss of limbs or death.

 

If you schedule an appointment with our team, here is what you can expect for each of the tests: 

Abdominal ultrasound

An abdominal ultrasound checks for abdominal aortic aneurysm, a weak, bulging spot in the largest artery in your abdomen. An ultrasound scan is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body. You will be asked to fast for 4 hours before your ultrasound. Undigested food can block the sound waves, making it difficult for the technician to get a clear picture.

During this test, you lie flat on your back and have images and measurements of your abdominal aorta taken through ultrasound. An ultrasound technician, called a sonographer, will apply a special lubricating jelly to your skin. This prevents friction so they can rub the ultrasound transducer on your skin. The transducer has a similar appearance to a microphone. The jelly also helps transmit the sound waves.  

The transducer sends high-frequency sound waves through your body. The waves echo as they hit a dense object. Those echoes are then reflected back into a computer and form a picture. 

After the procedure, the gel will be cleaned off of your skin. The whole procedure typically lasts less than 15 minutes.  Following the exam, a radiologist will review the images and check for any abnormalities. 

Cost is $180 for the screening package, and includes the radiologist’s interpretation. AAA screening exams are covered by Medicare for patients who meet certain criteria.

 

Carotid artery ultrasound

A carotid artery ultrasound checks the arteries in your neck, which carry blood to your brain. You will lie on your back on an exam table for the test. The technician will put gel on your neck where your carotid arteries are located. The gel helps the ultrasound waves reach the arteries.

The technician will put the transducer against different spots on your neck and move it back and forth. The transducer gives off ultrasound waves and detects their echoes as they bounce off the artery walls and blood cells. 

The computer uses the echoes to create and record pictures of the insides of the carotid arteries. This test also checks how quickly your blood flows through your carotid arteries to see if they are narrowed.

After the procedure, the gel will be cleaned off of your skin. The whole procedure typically lasts less than 15 minutes. Following the exam, a radiologist will review the images and check for any abnormalities.

 

Ankle-brachial index (ABI)

An ankle-brachial index (ABI) test checks if you have signs of peripheral artery disease, or PAD. During this test, your blood pressure is measured in both of your arms and both of your ankles, then compared. If your blood pressure is lower in your ankles than in your arms, you may have PAD, or blockages in the arteries in your limbs and pelvis.

 

To find out if you are at risk, click here.