Echocardiogram (Cardiac Ultrasound)- An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce images of the heart as it is beating. This enables your doctor to evaluate your valves, the strength and thickness of your heart muscle and the size of the chambers in your heart. The echocardiogram takes about one hour. There are no special preparations or instructions for the study.
Cardiac Doppler- The cardiac doppler reveals the speed and direction of blood flow within the heart. Cardiac doppler is helpful in evaluating valve function. The doppler uses sound waves which reflect off the moving red blood cells within the heart chambers. It is usually performed with the 2 Dimensional Echocardiogram. Color Flow Mapping is usually done in conjunction with the Doppler test. It shows speed and direction of blood flow, but the images are in color. The color allows the physician to "map" abnormalities in blood flow.
Peripheral Vascular Ultrasound- This procedure uses sound waves to obtain images and measure speed (velocity) of blood flow in carotids (neck), arms, legs, abdominal aorta, and renal (kidney) blood vessels. These images are analyzed to determine whether or not you have blockages in your arteries, blood clots in your veins, or if an abdominal aortic aneurysm is present.
Upper or Lower Arterial Evaluation- If you have blockages in your arteries, "intermittent claudication" (leg pain which occurs with walking, relieved at rest), previous balloon angioplasty/stent placement or bypass grafts of the legs, this test can determine the severity of the blockages, or patency of the angioplasty/stented areas or bypass grafts. During the test, you will be asked to walk on a treadmill to determine the effects of exercise on your circulation. Blood pressure cuffs are placed on your arms and ankles to obtain measurements during this procedure. The length of the test is 2 hours. No preparation is necessary.
Upper or Lower Venous Evaluation- This test determines if there are blood clots in the veins of your arms or legs. A venous evaluation requires 1 1/2 hours. No preparation is necessary.
Carotid Ultrasound- This procedure uses sound waves to obtain color images of the arteries in your neck. The physician evaluates the images to determine to what extent these arteries are blocked and how much blood is flowing to your brain and eyes. There are two carotid arteries, one on each side of your neck. Both sides will be checked during the procedure. This test takes 30 minutes and no preparation is needed.
Renal Duplex Imaging/Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound- This ultrasound test may be ordered in conjunction with Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound. It determines if blockages are present in the renal (kidney) arteries, which interfere with the supply of blood to the kidneys. Scheduling time and patient preparation is the same as above. The exam time is longer, usually 1 1/2 - 2 hours.