Most often people associate the term ultrasound with the testing that doctors do on pregnant women to get clear images of their growing babies. But ultrasounds are not limited to obstetrics. The ultrasound is a technology harnesses the power of high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of your body including, in this case, the flow of blood through your veins and arteries.
Here are three of the most common reasons that your cardiologist would order a vascular ultrasound rather than another diagnostic test:

1. They Want To Test Your Lower Extremities
The most common use for the vascular ultrasound is to test for lower extremity blockages. A lower extremity blockage commonly refers to blood clots in your legs that lead to a condition called Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT). DVT and peripheral artery disease (PAD) lead to painful muscle cramping in the legs but are particularly dangerous because pieces of those blood clots can break off and become lodged in the heart causing a pulmonary embolism. The vascular ultrasound allows cardiologists to catch find and treat the clot in your leg which is far away from the heart and chest where many cardiac tests are performed.

2. They’re Mapping Out Your Veins And Arteries
There are some procedures during which a surgeon will elect to use a portion of a vein or artery from a patient’s leg to bypass heart arteries that are narrowed due to a blockage. The vascular ultrasound is an excellent tool for mapping out the veins of the leg to determine which one would be suitable to be used in this type of procedure.

3. They Want To Limit Your Exposure To Radiation
Some other cardiac testing methods including the Nuclear Stress test and the Computed Tomography or CT Scan use small doses of ionizing radiation which are injected into the bloodstream. While small doses of this substance are not harmful, many cardiologists prefer to limit their patient’s exposure to the substance over time.

The vascular ultrasound is an excellent, noninvasive tool that cardiologists use to test how well blood is moving through your veins and arteries. This may be one of a battery of tests recommended to you, and you can rest easy knowing that this powerful tool is very effective and safe. If ever your cardiologist orders any kind of cardiac testing that you don’t fully understand, we urge you to feel free to ask questions. Understanding your treatment plan allows you to successfully advocate for yourself when it becomes necessary to do so. Contact us today if you’re looking for a local cardiologist to help you manage your cardiac health.