Before the Exam
For exams of the arteries or veins in the abdomen such as aorta, inferior vena cava, mesenteric vessels, kidneys, liver or spleen, do not eat or drink for six to eight hours before the examination. Drinking water while taking medications is fine, but please don’t drink coffee or smoke tobacco products prior to examination. This allows the technologist to best visualize the vessels and organs in the abdomen and provide more accurate results for your doctor.
For peripheral arm or leg arteries and veins being tested, no preparation is needed.
For exams of the arteries or veins in the neck, there is no preparation needed. For your comfort, wear a low collared shirt so the technologist can access your neck.
During the Exam
Depending on the type of examination or test being performed, the sonographer may have you change into a gown and remove your jewelry or watch if necessary. While laying on your back, a trained vascular sonographer or technologist will perform the examination by applying a water-soluble gel to the skin and placing a transducer on your skin. Depending on the exam, the sonographer might ask you to reposition onto your side or stomach, hold your breath or perform a Valsalva maneuver (hold your breath while bearing down on your lower pelvic muscles). If the examination is a venous duplex checking for blood clots, the sonographer will apply pressure to the skin making sure the vein collapses. This may be uncomfortable, but the sonographer is performing the exam so your doctor can decide further action. The diagnostic testing may take 15 to 60 minutes to perform.
After the Exam
Once the examination is complete, the images are sent to the interpreting physician, who will create a final report based on the findings of your exam and send the results to your physician.