Common Questions

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a sound wave frequency higher than our hearing range. The sound-wave is created by a hand-held transducer. The sound wave enters the body, hits organs and vessels and is bounced back to the transducer. (This is where the term "echo" came from). A computer uses the echoes to create an image on a TV monitor. Ultrasound usage is virtually painless and is harmless to humans.

What is a Doppler?

Doppler is a form of ultrasound. The sound wave enters the body and a computer detects movement of internal body structures (such as red blood cells.) Doppler can determine direction and speed of the blood within a vessel and based upon this data an assessment of the location and extent of blockage can be determined.

What is a Duplex?

Duplex ultrasound combines Doppler flow information and conventional imaging information, sometimes called B-mode, to allow the technologist to see the structure of your blood vessels. Duplex ultrasound shows how blood is flowing through your vessels and measures the speed of the flow of blood. It can also be useful to estimate the diameter of a blood vessel as well as the amount of obstruction, if any, in the blood vessel.

What is a Segmental Pressure Exam?

This is a diagnostic study of the arteries in the upper or lower extremities. Blood pressure cuffs are placed on various parts of the arms and legs and a blood pressure is obtained at various levels of the extremities. It is similar to having your blood pressure taken at the Doctor's office. The diagnostic data collected from this test, helps your Doctor know if you have proper circulation within the arms or legs.

What is an artery and what does it do?

An artery carries blood that has oxygen and food nutrients from your heart to your body's muscles and organs. Our body needs the oxygen and food nutrients to remain healthy and active. If there is a blockage in the artery, then the blood is not able to get to a certain part of the body and that part of the body suffers, and you begin to have symptoms. Depending upon which artery is blocked you could experience, muscle pain, mini-strokes, belly pain, ulcers on the skin of the legs, etc.

What is a vein and what does it do?

A vein carries blood from our body's muscles and organs back to our heart after the oxygen and food nutrients have been released. If you have blockages in your veins you will sometimes experience, swelling of the legs, arms or neck and you may have muscle pain, especially in the calf if a vein in the leg is blocked.

Will the test hurt?

The test is usually painless. We use ultrasound (just like what is used on unborn babies). The Technologist will put some ultrasound gel on your skin and a hand held device called a transducer will be placed over the area of your body that the Doctor would like checked. Sometimes the Technologist may have to press on your skin, which can be uncomfortable if your skin is sensitive, but the procedure should not be painful.

How long does the test take?

We try to schedule the appointments for 30 – 60 minutes. It is difficult to give an exact time for each test, but generally a Doppler takes between 30 – 60 minutes.

What preparation is there for the test?

The only studies that request a preparation are studies to the renal arterial, aorta, mesenteric arteries, any study of the abdomen. We request that the customer refrain from gas producing foods and carbonated liquids. Ultrasound frequencies will not penetrate air and a normal process of our digestion is to create air, so we try to limit that obstacle by limiting the intake of food and liquids that may cause excessive air in the abdomen.

What if I am diabetic and not able to keep from having food and liquids prior to the test?

Not to worry. Refraining from food and liquids prior to a test is only a recommendation. Diabetics should stay on their regular routine. If possible, do not eat or drink items that cause gas and limit your intake to an amount that will allow you to take your diabetic medication at a regular and routine time. Also, let the receptionist know that you are diabetic so that your test can be scheduled early as possible in the day.

How do I get scheduled for a Doppler study?

It is required to have a physician request the exam. So if you have a concern about blockages in your arteries or veins, then ask your Doctor to order a Doppler ultrasound.

Our phone number is 231-739-1931.

What is a CVA? (Cerebral Vascular Accident)

A CVA or stroke is brain damage caused by a lack of blood flow. Symptoms last more than 24 hours and include paralysis of one side of the body, visual disturbances, slurred speech, drooping face and inability to say certain words.

What is a TIA? (Transient Ischemic Attack)

A TIA is sometimes referred to as a mini stroke. Symptoms normally last 1-30 minutes but may continue for up to 24 hours with no lasting effects. A TIA is ten times more likely than a CVA and is caused by a blood clot temporarily clogging an artery not allowing for that part of the brain to get the blood flow it needs.  

What is a Bruit?

A bruit (bru-we) is an abnormal and often harsh sound heard with a stethoscope over a blood vessel, usually an artery. The sound, which is synchronous with your heartbeat, is caused by turbulent blood flow, such as caused by irregularities in the wall of the blood vessel or by an abnormal connection (fistula) between an artery and vein. A bruit heard over the carotid artery (carotid bruit) may indicate fatty buildup in the wall of the vessel (atherosclerosis).

What is Cyanosis?

Cyanosis is a bluish-purple discoloration of the membranes and skin, due to the presence of excessive amounts of deoxygenated blood in the capillaries.

What is an aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a bulging of the wall of a vein or artery due to a thinning or weakening by disease or congenital abnormality.

What is a pseudoaneurysm?

A pseudoaneurysm (false aneurysm) is a hole in the arterial wall allowing blood to escape into surrounding tissue. They can be caused by trauma such as a needle being inserted into the artery and may result in a hematoma in the tissue. Eventually the hematoma will be absorbed by the body but may take a while.

What is Ischemia?

Ischemia is a local reduction of blood supply, due to obstruction of inflow or arterial blood, or to vasoconstriction. Symptoms may include pallor (pale), coldness, and impairment of function, pain and gangrene.

What is DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis)?

A DVT is the presence of a blood clot in the deep venous system. This condition often arises in the calf veins and, if untreated, may result in pulmonary embolism.

What is a Pulmonary Embolism?

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of the pulmonary (lung) artery or one if its branches. It is commonly caused when a venous thrombus (blood clot from a vein) becomes dislodged from its site of formation and embolizes (moves) to the blood supply of one of the lungs.

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a major symptom of a balance disorder. It is the sensation of spinning or swaying while the body is stationary with respect to the earth or surroundings.

What is Claudication?

Claudication usually refers to cramp like pains in the calves, thighs and/or buttocks experienced during walking or exercise. Claudication is caused by poor circulation of the blood to the leg muscles. Pain will usually start after walking a fixed distance and will subside with rest.

What does NPO mean?

NPO is a shorthand medical term meaning "nothing by mouth." In preparation for certain testing it is important that the patient does not have anything to eat or drink for an appointed amount of time before testing.

What is Angioplasty?

Angioplasty refers to the use the mechanical widening of a narrowed or totally obstructed blood vessel. These obstructions are often caused by a buildup of plaque which prevents adequate blood flow to organs, muscles and tissue in the body.

What is an Ulcer?

A leg ulcer is a wound that will not heal, is slow to heal, or keeps recurring. Ulcers are often a symptom of abnormal arterial or venous blood flow circulation. Treating an ulcer without first identifying and repairing the cause may often times result in minimal healing, lengthened treatment time, infection, increased tissue damage and possible digit or limb loss.

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