Diagnostic Ultrasonography

Diagnostic Ultrasonography

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    Venous ultrasound is the gold standard for the diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which is a life-threatening condition but which can be treated when diagnosed. Venous ultrasound also is available to help determine the cause of varicose veins. Positioning patients and using blood pressure cuffs can help show whether venous reflux is present. Knowing the status of venous reflux assists the physician in determining appropriate treatment options.

    The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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    ASecondsCount.org answered
    The following questions can help you talk to your physician about having intravascular ultrasound (IVUS).
    • Why might IVUS be beneficial for me?
    • What individual risks will IVUS present for me?
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    ASecondsCount.org answered
    The following questions can help you talk to your physician about a transcranial Doppler (TCD) test. Print out or write down these questions and take them with you to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your physician’s response when you get home.
    • Am I at high risk for stroke?
    • What can TCD tell us about my risk for stroke?
    • What happens next if the TCD test reveals a potential problem with the arteries leading to my brain?
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    ASecondsCount.org answered
    Transcranial Doppler (TCD) does not require preparation on the part of the patient. You will be asked to lie down on an examining table or sit upright. The health care professional performing the TCD will apply a harmless gel to your skin over your temple to help the sound waves transmit into the body. Then the person who is conducting the test will pass the transducer over your skin.
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    ASecondsCount.org answered
    During Transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound, a hand-held wand called a transducer is moved over the skin near your temple. The transducer emits sound waves that then bounce off blood cells and are picked up again by the transducer. A computer interprets these sound-wave signals. TCD can provide your physician with information about the speed of blood flow in the brain. To assess stroke risk, the TCD technician or nurse may pass the wand over the carotid arteries (arteries in the neck) and arteries at the base of the brain
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    ASecondsCount.org answered
    Transcranial Doppler (TCD) is a form of ultrasound. You may already be familiar with ultrasound technology because of its wide range of uses in diagnosing medical conditions and in monitoring during pregnancy. Transcranial Doppler is ultrasound that is performed at the base of the brain to assess the risk of stroke.
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    AHealthyWomen answered
    To perform the ultrasound, a technician will rub a thin layer of lubricating jelly on your belly and pass a hand-held instrument called a transducer over it.

    Additionally, you may need a transvaginal ultrasound early in your first trimester to confirm your pregnancy or to determine how healthy the pregnancy is if you have been experiencing any bleeding, signs of preterm labor or other risks that require a careful examination of your cervix. This type of ultrasound is similar to the kind of internal exam you get during a Pap smear, only instead of a speculum inserted into your vagina, the ultrasound wand is inserted.

    Regardless of which type of ultrasound you have, during the test itself the technician occasionally stops to take ultrasound images, which record the size of certain body parts and other developmental features of the baby. Also, an ultrasound can usually determine if you're carrying more than one baby.
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    AHealthyWomen answered
    Also known as a sonogram, a pregnancy ultrasound uses short pulses of high-frequency, low-intensity sound waves to create images of the baby inside your uterus. Unlike X-rays, there is no radiation exposure to you or the baby. This test can be performed in a health care professional's office or in an outpatient diagnostic center.

    Ultrasound has been used safely in obstetrics for decades. When performed early in the pregnancy, it can provide an accurate gestational age and due date for your baby and is sometimes more reliable than calculating your due date mathematically from your last period. Many expectant moms like to get an ultrasound hoping to learn the child's sex, but health care professionals are much more focused on looking for possible birth defects. If they suspect any problems with your baby, you may need other tests.

    Most women experiencing a healthy pregnancy receive only one ultrasound, usually around 18 to 20 weeks, though you may have more than one.
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    A vascular study -- a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) procedure used to assess the blood flow in arteries and veins -- may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices.

    Generally, a vascular study follows this process:
    • You will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the procedure. You may wear your glasses, dentures, or hearing aid if you use any of these.
    • If you are asked to remove clothing, you will be given a gown to wear.
    • You will lie on an exam table or bed.
    • A clear gel will be placed on the skin at locations where the pulse is expected to be heard.
    • The Doppler transducer will be pressed against the skin and moved around over the area of the artery or vein being studied.
    • When blood flow is detected, you will hear a "whoosh, whoosh" sound. The probe will be moved around to compare blood flow in different areas of the artery or vein.
    • For arterial studies of the legs, blood pressure cuffs will be applied in three positions on the leg in order to compare the blood pressure between different areas of the leg. The cuff around the thigh will be inflated first, and the blood pressure will be determined with the Doppler transducer placed just below the cuff.
    • The cuff around the calf will be inflated, and the blood pressure will be determined as with the thigh cuff.
    • The cuff around the ankle will be inflated, and the blood pressure will be determined.
    • The blood pressure will be taken in the arm on the same side as the leg that was just studied and used to determine the degree of any occlusion of arterial flow in the legs.
    • Once the procedure has been completed, the gel will be removed from the skin.
    The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort.
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    Certain factors or conditions may interfere with a vascular study -- a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) procedure used to assess the blood flow in arteries and veins. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • smoking for at least an hour before the test, as smoking causes blood vessels to constrict
    • severe obesity
    • cardiac dysrhythmias/arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms)
    • cardiac disease