Ultrasound is most well known for its use in pregnancy. However, it’s also useful in diagnosing a range of vascular issues. Vascular ultrasound enables cardiologists to view inside veins.
Here at Advanced Heart & Cardiovascular Associates, heart specialist Nader Chadda, MD, FACC, FSCAI, uses vascular ultrasound routinely to provide our patients with the most personalized care possible. Dr. Chadda uses vascular ultrasound to observe the function of blood vessels and arteries to help evaluate and diagnose underlying symptoms.
Ultrasound imaging assists Dr. Chadda in determining the underlying cause of persistent symptoms like leg cramps, shortness of breath, and chest pain. For example, an ultrasound may detect a blood clot or an area where an artery has narrowed, obstructing blood flow. Other reasons Dr. Chadda may perform a vascular ultrasound include to:
Ultrasound is also used to review the outcome of a surgical procedure and to determine whether angioplasty — a procedure that widens blood vessels — is required. Let’s discuss four of the most common conditions vascular ultrasound can help diagnose.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when the veins of the legs narrow due to an accumulation of fatty deposits in your veins, which occurs when veins are damaged.
When you have PAD, it is a good indication that these deposits, also known as plaque, are part of a larger problem in the body called atherosclerosis. Vascular ultrasound can assist Dr. Chadda in determining the extent of the blockage in your legs and what can be done to treat or prevent further blockages.
Carotid artery disease (CAD) is similar to PAD in that results in narrowed arteries, but in this case it’s the carotids on each side of the neck that are affected. The carotid arteries supply blood to the brain, and if they become narrowed or blocked due to atherosclerosis, blood flow to the brain can be reduced.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when the veins in the legs fail to efficiently return blood to the heart.
The issue can stem from either weakened vein walls or valves that are unable to effectively pump blood back to the heart. These deficiencies, which are commonly associated with varicose veins, can cause blood to pool in the legs.
Symptoms range from swelling and itching to ulcers and other serious complications. Vascular ultrasound allows Dr. Chadda to view the damaged veins and diagnose CVI.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition in which a dangerous blood clot forms in the body's deep veins. This most commonly occurs in the legs, but it can also occur in the arms. DVT is especially dangerous because the clot can dislodge and travel elsewhere in the body.
A pulmonary embolism is a common complication of DVT that occurs when a blood clot travels to the lungs. Dr. Chadda will order a vascular ultrasound if he suspects that you have a DVT blood clot, as this is the most accurate way to diagnose DVT and treat it effectively.
Don’t ignore symptoms of vascular disease. If you experience persistent symptoms, it’s wise to see a specialist as soon as possible for evaluation. Call our office that’s nearest to you to schedule an in-person or telehealth visit with Dr. Chadda.
Our offices are located in Land O’ Lakes, Brooksville, and Hudson, Florida.