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Definition Return to top
This test uses ultrasound to examine the blood flow in the major arteries and veins in the arms and legs.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
The test is done in the ultrasound or radiology department or in a peripheral vascular lab.
To examine the veins:
A water-soluble gel is placed on a handheld device called a transducer, which directs the high-frequency sound waves to the artery or veins being tested.
To examine the arteries:
Blood pressure cuffs may be put around different parts of the body, including the thigh, calf, ankle, and different points along the arm. A paste is applied to the skin over the arteries being examined. Images are created as the transducer is moved over each area.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
You will need to remove clothing from the arm or leg being examined.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
There is little or no discomfort associated with this test.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
This test is done as an alternative to arteriography and venography. It may help diagnose:
The test may also be used to evaluate injury to the arteries and to monitor arterial reconstruction and bypass grafts.
Normal Results Return to top
A normal result means the blood vessels show no signs of narrowing or closure, and the arteries have normal blood pressure.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Abnormal results may be due to:
Additional conditions under which this test may be performed include:
Risks Return to top
There are no risks specifically associated with this procedure.
Considerations Return to top
Cigarette smoking may alter the results of this test, because nicotine can cause the arteries in the extremities to constrict.
Quitting smoking significantly lowers the risk of problems with the heart and circulatory system. Most smoking-related deaths are caused by cardiovascular problems, not lung cancer.Update Date: 5/13/2009 Updated by: Benjamin Taragin M.D., Department of Radiology, Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, N.Y. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.