Inova Heart and Vascular Institute's vascular laboratory provides a variety of ultrasound testing procedures to assist in the diagnosis of your vascular condition.

All testing is done by certified vascular technologists using state of the art diagnostic equipment. Your study will then be interpreted by our board-certified, fellowship trained vascular specialists.

Vascular studies can assist in detecting blood clots, artery blockages and aneurysms, and can provide other information that may help with the diagnosis and treatment of your vascular disease.

Ultrasound imaging

Ultrasound or sonography involves the sending of sound waves through the body. Those sound waves are reflected off the internal organs. The reflections are then interpreted by special instruments that subsequently create an image of anatomic parts. No ionizing radiation (X-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging. An ultrasound image is a useful way of evaluating the body’s circulatory system. Ultrasound images are captured in real-time, so they can help monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body, as well as evaluate the placement and success of repair, such as after arterial bypass surgery. With ultrasound images, blockages (stenosis) and abnormalities like blood clots, plaque, or emboli, can be located and identified.

Preparing for your ultrasound test

Most tests require no preparation and will take approximately 30-60 minutes. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Most insurance plans will typically cover these studies. Please check with your insurance provider before your appointment to confirm eligibility.

Types of ultrasound tests

Aortic imaging

Aortic imaging is a procedure in which ultrasound technology is used to examine and evaluate the aorta and screen for a number of different vascular conditions and disorders. Aortic imaging is a crucial aspect of diagnosing abdominal aortic aneurysms, as well as blockages.

Arterial duplex exams

Arterial duplex exams are imaging procedures that utilize duplex ultrasonography to detect and/or monitor disease of the native arteries in the lower and upper extremities and arterial bypass grafts. During this procedure, color is used to map the arteries, identifying narrowing of blood vessels.

Carotid ultrasound

Carotid ultrasound is used to examine and evaluate the carotid arteries. This procedure can be used to detect narrowing of the arteries caused by buildup of plaque, which can lead to carotid artery disease or stroke.

Mesenteric artery imaging

Mesenteric artery imaging is a process that involves using ultrasound technology to examine the mesenteric arteries and evaluate their condition. Ultrasound imaging can be used to detect the narrowing of the mesenteric arteries.

Renal artery exams

Renal artery exams are evaluations in which our staff members utilize ultrasound technology to examine the size and condition of the renal arteries. This procedure can be used to check for the narrowing of the renal arteries.

Venous imaging

Venous imaging utilizes duplex ultrasound technology to evaluate the venous system of the upper and/or lower extremities, for the presence of deep and superficial venous thrombosis, and venous insufficiency. Vein mapping is also performed to evaluate the size of the veins for creating dialysis access or performing bypass grafts.