Types of Vascular Tests

Non-Imaging Tests

Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) with or without Stress for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

This test compares the blood pressure in the arms and the ankles. If the pressure in the legs is lower, it could be be an indication of peripheral artery disease (PAD). An ABI can be performed at rest, or while the patient is on a treadmill (“with stress”). Performing the test with stress can diagnose early PAD in patients whose ankle-brachial index is normal when they are not exerting themselves.

Exercise & Treadmill Testing of the Upper & Lower Extremities

This test measures a patient’s heart rate and blood pressure while he or she is walking on a treadmill.

Lower Extremity Graft Surveillance

This is a group of tests that monitor patients who have undergone graft surgery to restore adequate blood flow in the legs.

Segmental Pressure Measurements

Several blood pressure cuffs are placed around the leg to measure blood pressure at different locations. A drop in pressure between two cuffs indicates a narrowing of the artery, or a blockage, in that part of the leg.

Pulse Volume Recordings of the Upper & Lower Extremities

Pulse Volume Recording (PVR) measures blood flow in the leg arteries. PVR is used to diagnose peripheral artery disease (PAD) in the legs and find the general location of the blockage.

Imaging Tests

Peripheral Vascular Angiography

An angiogram is imaging that uses X-rays taken during the injection of a special dye, or contrast agent, to enhance visibility. This procedure is used to detect narrowing or blockages in the blood vessels caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Routine Surveillance Ultrasound for Dialysis Access

Patients who are on dialysis are at risk for access stenosis—a constricting of the access portal used in dialysis—which can lead to dangerous blood clots. Routine surveillance ultrasound allows physicians to monitor patients for access stenosis and treat it before a clot can develop.

Upper Extremity Arterial & Venous Ultrasound for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a condition in which nerves and/or blood vessels are compressed between the base of the neck and the armpit. This test views the arm as it is placed in multiple positions to determine what might be restricting blood flow from the body to the arms.

Vascular Ultrasound

A vascular ultrasound is a painless, noninvasive test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the blood vessels. In a vascular ultrasound, sound waves bounce off of the blood cells as they travel through the blood vessels. This allows physicians to calculate the speed of blood flow and identify narrowed arteries.

Frequently Performed Tests

  • Carotid Artery Ultrasound
  • Renal Artery Ultrasound
  • Aortoiliac and Peripheral Artery Ultrasound
  • Venous Ultrasound (upper & lower extremities)
  • Venous Reflux Testing (ultrasound of varicose veins)

Arterial & Vein Mapping

When a venous ultrasound test is performed to help determine which blood vessels are good candidates for use as grafts in lower extremity bypass graft or coronary artery bypass surgery, the procedure is called vein mapping.

Limited Abdominal Ultrasound for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

A technician applies an ultrasound probe to a patient’s abdomen to evaluate whether they have an AAA.

Limited Neck Ultrasound for Carotid Stenosis

An ultrasound probe is applied to either side of a patient’s neck to look for carotid stenosis.