Vascular testing is a type of screening process that checks to see if patients have vascular disease. It can be used as a diagnostic tool if patients are experiencing symptoms of vascular disease or as a preventive tool if patients have a lot of risk factors for vascular disease. Typically, it works by measuring the perfusion, flow, and pressure of blood within vessels while patients are resting or exercising. With vascular screening, the doctor can identify the severity and location of any vascular issues and then prepare a personalized plan of treatment for his patients.
The main type of vascular testing is a vascular ultrasound. Vascular ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of the inside of the body. The doctor can then get a closer look at the internal structures without using any sort of invasive procedure. Depending on the affected area, the doctor might perform a carotid ultrasound to look at the arteries around the heart, a renal ultrasound to look at the arteries around the kidneys, and mesenteric and abdominal ultrasounds to examine the abdominal area and intestines.
Another common kind of testing is an ankle-brachial index. This is used to diagnose peripheral arterial disease and involves the doctor attaching a blood pressure cuff on the ankle and arm to measure the differences between the two.
Vascular testing is a very important tool for those with an increased risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm, stroke, carotid artery disease, blood clots and peripheral arterial disease. Typically, this includes people with a family history or personal history of these conditions, people with high cholesterol and blood pressure, smokers, diabetics, and people over a certain age.
Additionally, if patients are experiencing any of the tell-tale symptoms of vascular disease, the doctor may perform vascular testing to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.