Vascular Imaging

Imaging can be very helpful for identifying the location and severity of vascular disease. We use imaging to help us decide if the disease is worrisome enough to mandate surgery and also to help with surgical planning.

Vascular Screening Exams

Screening exams are used for vascular disease because many of these diseases are “silent,” meaning that people may be unaware they have the problem until they suffer a major event (such as a stroke, ruptured aneurysm, or gangrene). Screening exams have also helped to educate the general public about vascular disease.

Vascular surgeons support selective screening of people who are 60 or older and are known to have risk factors for atherosclerosis or aneurysm. These include:

  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • A greater than 100-pack smoking history
  • Family history of heart attack, stroke, or abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)

Not all people need to be screened. For example, it is very unlikely that a person under the age of 60 with no risk factors for vascular disease will have positive findings on a screening exam. On the other hand, a 70-year-old man with hypertension, a 40-year smoking habit, and a family history of ruptured aneurysms should probably skip the screening and have a diagnostic imaging study of his abdomen.