Diagnostic Vascular Screening & Testing

Screening is an important first step to improved vascular health as the most severe disorders such as aortic aneurysms have few if any symptoms. At Mercy, screening for urgent or emerging vascular disease follows current evidence-based medical recommendations.

Vascular laboratory testing is used to diagnose:

  • Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD): Blockages in the circulation to the arms or legs due to atherosclerosis or other disease which may threaten the limbs.
  • Cerebrovascular Disease: Blockages in the arteries to the brain that may increase risk of stroke.
  • Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT): Blood clots in the veins that could migrate to the heart and lungs.
  • Chronic Venous Disease: Varicose veins and other disorders that cause leg swelling or leg ulcers.
  • Renal Artery Disease: Circulatory disorders of the kidneys that cause hypertension (high blood pressure) or kidney failure.
  • Aortic Aneurysms: A ballooning of the major artery that can cause a fatal rupture.
  • Other vascular disease and conditions.

Testing is typically painless and non-invasive. Our Vascular Centers' offer a broad range of screening and non-invasive diagnostic tests.

Diagnostic Tests & Procedures

Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)

Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) is a test that measures and compares the blood pressure in the arms and legs of a person in order to identify any blood flow problems.

Aorta Duplex Scan

The aorta duplex examination uses ultrasound and Doppler to measure the size and blood flow of the abdominal aorta to determine if an aneurysm is present. The examination is painless and the only preparation required is fasting after midnight prior to the test.

Arterial Duplex Scan

The arterial duplex test is used to determine the circulation in the arteries. The procedure evaluates arteries without blockages as well as those arteries that are blocked and have been bypassed with a graft. Examination of the bypass grafts enables the physician to prevent future blockages and possible limb loss from lack of circulation.

Carotid Duplex Scan

Carotid duplex is an ultrasound that determines whether plaque or other matter is blocking blood flow in the carotid arteries. Carotid duplex evaluations of the arteries in the neck are the most accurate test available to determine if a patient has carotid artery disease. Plaque buildup in the carotid artery can break up into small particles and the force of blood flow can send these particles into smaller vessels in the brain which can cause a stroke.

Carotid duplex uses ultrasound technology to image and record the appearance and the amount of arterial blockage within the carotid arteries. This information is critical to the physician to determine the best course of treatment for a patient.

Dialysis Graft Surveillance

The dialysis graft surveillance procedure is painless and requires no preparation. The test provides detailed images of the dialysis access grafts in the arms of patients receiving dialysis treatments. These access devices can deteriorate due to extended dialysis treatments, and this vascular test can determine if the graft is potentially closing and requires replacement.

Hepatoportal Duplex Scan

This procedure uses ultrasound and a Doppler to evaluate the blood flow of the veins in the liver. This procedure may take up to two hours to complete and requires fasting.

Lower/Upper Arterial Doppler Evaluations

This vascular test is used to assess the circulation in the arms or legs. The examination does not use ultrasound but can determine if circulation is affected by blockages. This test can give the physician information needed to determine if the patient may need further procedures. The test consists of utilizing specialized blood pressure cuffs and Doppler probes to measure blood pressures in the affected areas of the body.

Renal Artery Duplex Scan

Renal artery duplex scan is an ultrasound that evaluates blood flow to the kidneys and to determine if there is any significant narrowing in the arteries that go to the kidneys. This test is usually ordered for patients with severe high blood pressure or who appear to be losing kidney function.

The exam uses the same technology as carotid and venous examinations. Fasting is required prior to the test to ensure the ultrasound beam can reach the kidneys without interference from swallowed air or food. This examination may take up to two hours to complete due to the depth and size of the vessels being evaluated.

Venous Duplex Scan & Venous Mapping

Venous duplex is a highly accurate ultrasound test that visualizes the inside of veins used to assess blood flow. This test is ordered if a physician suspects a patient may have a blood clot in the vein. The test can be performed on the arms or legs. There is no patient preparation for this test and needles are not involved. The test is painless and results are immediate.

Venous mapping is an ultrasound used to identify a vein in the arm or leg that can be removed (harvested) and used to bypass a diseased vein in the heart or legs.