Venous ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that utilizes sound waves to create images of veins in your arms or legs to detect blood clots. This non-invasive imaging test is safe and painless, allowing doctors to examine organs and structures within your body.
Lower venous ultrasound and upper venous ultrasound are different procedures that focus on different parts of the body. A lower venous ultrasound examines the veins in the legs, while an upper venous ultrasound looks at the veins in the arms, neck, and chest.
To prepare for a venous ultrasound, it is recommended to wear loose and comfortable clothing that can easily be rolled up or removed to expose your arms and legs. The test is non-invasive and painless, therefore, no other special preparation is needed such as fasting or medication adjustments.
A venous ultrasound is performed to diagnose blood clots in the arms or legs which can be life-threatening if left undetected. Blood clots can cause pain, swelling, or discoloration of the affected limb, as well as chest pain, shortness of breath, and palpitations. These clots can lead to a stroke or pulmonary embolism if they become dislodged. A venous ultrasound is an essential diagnostic tool in detecting blood clots early to prevent serious complications.
During a venous ultrasound, you can expect a painless and non-invasive procedure that typically takes around 30 minutes to complete. You will be asked to lie down on an exam table, and a technician will apply jelly and an ultrasound probe to your arms or legs, gently pressing and taking images of your veins. The procedure is safe, and there are no risks associated with it. The technician may ask you to change positions to obtain a clear view of your veins, but overall the process is straightforward and comfortable.
After a venous ultrasound, your healthcare provider will discuss the test results with you. If a blood clot is detected, your provider may recommend a blood thinner or other treatments to prevent the clot from worsening or causing complications.
The potential risks associated with a venous ultrasound are minimal. If a blood clot is present and is directly compressed during the test, there is a slight risk that the clot could dislodge and travel to the lungs. However, this risk is very low. There are no other risks associated with this non-invasive imaging procedure, and it does not involve exposure to radiation.
If a blood clot is found during a venous ultrasound, your healthcare provider may recommend additional tests, such as a computerized tomography angiogram (CTA) to check for pulmonary embolism in the lungs. Another option is magnetic resonance venography (MRV), which uses a contrast dye to visualize the veins directly. These tests can help determine the extent and severity of the blood clot and guide treatment decisions. Your provider will discuss the need for any additional tests with you and explain the benefits and potential risks.