In a bygone era, there was no way for doctors to see what was happening inside a patient’s body without opening it up. And that procedure, even today, can come with unexpected and unnecessary risks. The invention of ultrasound technology allows cardiologists to see precisely how the heart muscle is functioning using the power of sound waves, and vascular ultrasound allows cardiologists to use that same power to investigate the veins and arteries that feed the heart.
There are numerous reasons why your cardiologist might recommend this diagnostic assessment, and here are three broad categories.

Detect And Identify Blockages
Clots and blockages in the extremities can creep in unexpected and create serious damage and even death if not handled properly. Conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occur when blood clots form in the limbs, usually the legs, and often go unnoticed by the patient. The serious risk occurs when the clot breaks up and pieces of it end up in the lungs leading to a condition called pulmonary embolism. The use of a vascular ultrasound allows a cardiologist to get a good look at all the veins and arteries in the legs to ensure that there is no clotting or to deal with it swiftly if it is found.

Working With Children
Cardiologists also use vascular ultrasound technology when working with the very small and fragile veins and arteries of children. The ultrasound gives the cardiologist a clear look at the patient’s tiny veins to ensure the needle is placed correctly and doesn’t cause bleeding or injury to nerves. Additionally, the technology can be used on children to check the connections between arteries and veins and potentially diagnose vascular malformations.

Post-Procedure Evaluation
Another reason your physician may order a vascular ultrasound is to follow up on a procedure like a Coronary Artery Bypass where a vein is removed from the patient’s leg and grafted in to replace in the heart so that the blood bypasses a clogged artery altogether. After a procedure like this, your cardiologist will want to check in on your leg veins to see that everything is healing as expected.

The vascular ultrasound is a powerful tool that helps cardiologists prevent and treat serious vascular conditions using only the power of sound waves. If you have more questions about this or any of our other diagnostic tests, contact us today. And if you have a history of heart disease in your family but don’t yet have a cardiologist, peruse our list of doctors to find the right one for you.