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What is Vascular Ultrasound*

The medical specialty of vascular technology utilizes diagnostic ultrasound to generate images of blood flow within the veins and arteries. Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves, similar to the sonar that a ship uses to detect structures beneath the surface of the water. Vascular ultrasound can also be known as a Doppler or duplex study. For example, if your physician wants to make sure that you do not have a blood clot in your leg, he or she might order a venous duplex or venous Doppler examination.

Vascular ultrasound procedures are noninvasive, meaning they do not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia and are, therefore, relatively painless and harmless.

The information obtained through vascular ultrasound examinations is extremely helpful to physicians in diagnosing a variety of conditions related to cardiovascular disease, disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Early detection of life-threatening vascular diseases is possible through the use of noninvasive vascular testing techniques performed within vascular facilities.

Vascular ultrasound's reliability in diagnosing conditions related to heart disease and stroke is encouraging as we strive for ways to reduce the more than 500,000 lives lost in the United States each year to these disorders. However, it is critical that the public realizes there are many facets that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on vascular ultrasound examinations. These factors include the skill of the technologist/sonographer performing the examination, the type of equipment used, the background and knowledge of the interpreting physician and quality assurance measures. In fact, poor ultrasound examinations often lead to inconvenient, redundant studies, misdiagnosis and even unnecessary tests or surgery.

*Taken from the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission Website