Tag: diagnostic ultrasound

What is a Venous Doppler?

What is a venous doppler ultrasound exam? And why is it such an important diagnostic tool in our Houston area vein health clinics? Read on to find out!

What is a Venous Doppler? patient receiving a venous doppler exam

This is a diagnostic ultrasound test that we use to examine circulation in your large leg veins. Using this exam, we can detect deep vein thrombosis (DVT), as well as other vein health concerns. Like other ultrasounds, our vein ultrasound uses medical imaging tech to helps us see the internal structures in your veins. It generates images uses high-frequency sound waves that bounce off of your vein structures, helping us paint a picture of what’s going on in your body.

What to Expect During a Venous Doppler Ultrasound

Diagnostic vein ultrasounds are painless and radiation-free. They don’t involve catheters, needles or dye. Overall, we use this test to discover how well your blood is flowing through your veins. It can also help us detect vein health concerns, especially if you’re showing signs of vein disease such as leg cramps or edema (swelling.)

When you arrive, you will be brought to the exam room and asked to lie down, removing your clothing below your waist. Then, after a few questions about your medical history and the reason for your exam, the venous doppler will begin. During the 30-45 minute procedure, your technician will apply sound waves to your skin using a transducer. When the waves bounce back, a transducer captures them, creating an image that displays on a screen. From there, we can evaluate how well your veins are functioning, noticing any structural changes or clots.

If your test results are normal, then you can leave the office immediately. But if we notice any abnormalities during your venous doppler, we may order further tests or begin treating your vein disease.

What is a Normal Result on a Vein Ultrasound?

Ideally, we’ll see your veins returning blood to your heart without obstructions or delays. Now, when we talk about your leg veins, we’re discussing two different groups. First, there are your deep leg veins, lying underneath the muscles in your legs. Then, there are your superficial veins–the ones that become visible through your skin when you have spider veins.

When operating properly, your veins easily deflate, pushing blood up to your heart while working against gravity. Your calf muscles help get this task done, and so do the one-way valves in your veins that close, preventing blood from pooling in your lower limbs.

Problem Results on a Vein Ultrasound

Of course, sometimes, we detect concerning results during a venous doppler exam. We could detect a superficial blood clot, in the veins right beneath your skin. This could be the result of a recent injury, or a side effect of varicose veins, but we can easily treat this concern.

We may also detect a clot in your deep leg veins, called a DVT. This type of clot is a more serious medical concern because, if the clot breaks free, it can travel to your lungs. There, as a pulmonary embolism, the condition can be fatal, so we’ll need to give you immediate, emergency care.

Anyone can develop a DVT at any time, but certain factors increase your risk, including pregnancy, immobility, a long airplane flight, carrying extra weight, having recent surgery, or having a history of prior DVT.

If we’re using a venous doppler exam to determine your DVT status, you’ll receive your test results before leaving the office. Otherwise, you should receive a call within a few days of the exam, highlighting your results and discussing appropriate next steps.

Follow Up Vein Care in Houston, TX

Like a venous doppler exam, our team of Houston vein specialists use minimally invasive procedures to treat a variety of vein health concerns. After giving you a vein ultrasound to determine your current vein health, we will diagnose any concerns and come up with a treatment plan to restore your optimal blood flow.

Ready to take control of your vein health? Contact our office to schedule a diagnostic ultrasound. Together, we’ll learn what’s going on inside your veins, and make sure that you’re set up for your best health in 2023!

PAD vs. CVD: This is How You Tell the Difference

PAD vs CVD: these serious conditions have similar symptoms. As a result, when you are experiencing leg pain, it can be difficult to know what’s causing your discomfort. That’s because both Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Chronic Venous Disease (CVD) can make your legs hurt. So, how can you tell the difference between these problems? Just keep reading for our handy guide!

What is Peripheral Artery Disease?

PAD is a condition in which your arteries harden because of plaque build-up on the walls. This hardening narrows your arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow through. And when this happens, you may experience symptoms in your legs, including: pain, numbness, or heaviness. These symptoms typically appear when you are active, and usually resolve when you rest.

PAD is a serious condition; it ups your risk for stroke and other cardiovascular conditions. Luckily, we can treat PAD with lifestyle changes and with minimally invasive interventions. When it comes to lifestyle, supervised exercise programs can help reduce your leg cramps and may also improve blood flow to your extremities. Choosing a healthy diet and breaking up with smoking can also improve PAD symptoms.

Then, when it comes to treating PAD, we’re here to help. Depending on the severity of your condition, we can offer Angioplasty, Stenting or Atherectomy for PAD. All of these options take a different approach to resolving PAD. But they have one thing in common: they allow you to avoid large surgical incisions. And they rarely require you to stay overnight in hospital.

Of course, before treating PAD, you must receive an accurate diagnosis. Which is why you have to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. Including CVD, or chronic venous disease.

What is Chronic Venous Disease?

Chronic Venous Disease is a way of describing conditions that develop when your veins aren’t functioning properly. These include varicose veins, ulcers, and edema. But, sometimes, venous disease shows up in less obvious ways. In fact, many symptoms of CVD are very similar to those associated with PAD. So, the question remains, how can you tell the difference between the two?

Ruling out PAD as a Diagnosis

Because PAD symptoms are so similar to those associated with CVD, it can be difficult to diagnose. But here’s the key factor to note when you talk to your doctor. When you have PAD, you will likely only experience symptoms like leg pain and heaviness when you are active. If you have Venous Disease, resting will likely not improve your symptoms. Also, when you have CVD, visible symptoms like spider veins will usually show up fairly quickly.

Finally, timing can be a major clue as well. With CVD, leg pain tends to show up at the end of a long day. Especially if you spent extended periods on your feet. But, with PAD, pain shows up day or night, and, as we mentioned, is typically tied to movement.

Of course, the easiest and best way to determine the cause of your leg pain is to see your vein specialist. But, clearly identifying your symptoms can help your doctor quickly reach a diagnosis. So, take note of your symptoms and make an appointment with our Houston vein specialists today to assess your PAD risk or book a diagnostic ultrasound to check for CVD.


Sources: American Venous Forum, Cardiovascular Institute of the South

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