Arterial Ultrasound

What is an arterial ultrasound?

This test uses ultrasound to look at the blood flow in the large arteries in the arms and legs.  

Why is this test performed?

This test is done as a preliminary step to look at the arteries. Sometimes, arteriography may be required later. An arterial ultrasound is performed to help diagnose:
-Arteriosclerosis of the arms or legs
-Injury to the arteries
-Monitor arterial reconstruction and bypass grafts
A normal result means that the blood vessels show no signs of narrowing, clots, or closure, and the arteries have normal blood flow. An abnormal results may be due to:
-Blockage in an artery by a blood clot, piece of fat, or air bubble
-Blood clot in an artery
-Narrowing or widening of an artery
-Spastic arterial disease (arterial contractions brought on by cold or emotion
-Arteriosclerosis of the extremities

How is this test performed?

During the exam, a water-soluble gel is placed on a handheld device called a transducer. This device directs high-frequency sound waves to the arteries being tested.
Blood pressure cuffs may be placed around various parts of the body, including the thigh, calf, ankle, and different points along the arm.
Images are created as the transducer is moved over each area.

What should I expect during this test?

Upper and lower extremity arterial ultrasound is a non-invasive examination and you should not feel any pain or discomfort.

How do I prepare for this test?

You will need to remove clothes from the arm or leg being examined.

Are there any risks associated with an arterial ultrasound?

There are no risks from this procedure.