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Vascular Tests and Diagnosis

Kedron and David, our certified vascular ultrasound technologists, are trained to perform the full range of vascular studies including: carotid duplex, aorta duplex, ABI,  upper and lower extremity arterial and venous duplex scans, renal artery duplex scans, vein mapping and dialysis access graft duplex scans.

Vascular Test performed at Carolina Vascular include:

What is duplex ultrasound?

Duplex ultrasound combines Doppler flow information and conventional imaging information, sometimes called B-mode, to allow physicians to see the structure of your blood vessels. Duplex ultrasound shows how blood is flowing through your vessels and measures the speed of the flow of blood. It can also be useful to estimate the diameter of a blood vessel as well as the amount of obstruction, if any, in the blood vessel.

Conventional ultrasound uses painless sound waves higher than the human ear can detect that bounce off of blood vessels. A computer converts the sound waves into black and white moving pictures called B-mode images.

Duplex ultrasound produces images that can be color coded to show physicians where your blood flow is severely blocked as well as the speed and direction of blood flow.

What is an ankle-brachial index (ABI)?

Ankle-Brachial Index TestThe ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a simple test used to evaluate the arterial circulation in your legs. It can also be used to follow the improvement or worsening of leg circulation over time. To obtain the ABI, we measure the blood pressure in your ankle and in your arm. We then compare the two numbers by forming a ratio to determine your ABI.

Normally, the blood pressures in your ankle and arm should be about equal. But if your ankle pressures are lower than your arm pressures, your leg arteries are probably narrowed.

To perform the ABI, we may use an ordinary blood pressure cuff and an ultrasound device. The ABI helps us diagnose arterial disease in the legs, but it is a general test and it does not specifically identify which arteries are blocked.

What does it mean if my ABI is abnormal?

A reduced ABI indicates reduced circulation to your leg(s).  A normal ABI = 1.0; a mildly reduced ABI = 0.70 to 0.90; a moderately reduced ABI = 0.5 to 0.7; a severely reduced ABI is less than 0.50. Also, a reduced ABI indicates that you are at increased risk of cardiovascular events (e.g. heart attack, stroke and vascular disease in general)