Abdominal Duplex/Ultrasound imaging is a form of ultrasound which uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the abdomen. These images are captured in real-time so they can show the structure of organs as well as blood flowing through the arteries and veins. This examination is best performed in the early AM while the patient is fasting. Intestinal gas in the abdomen after eating is one of the major obstacles the technologists face when performing this exam. We also ask the patient to refrain from smoking and chewing gum or mints before the exam as well to facilitate better visualization.
This test is performed with the patient lying supine with his or her head slightly raised in a darkened room. The abdominal region is exposed. The technologist places a warm clear gel on the abdomen and, using a hand held probe/transducer, presses against the skin moving back and forth over the abdomen to image the vessels on a video screen. An Abdominal Duplex Exam is broken down into 3 different tests.
- Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound is performed when there is suspicion of an Aortic Aneurysm. An Aneurysm is a dilation of a blood vessel larger than the normal caliber. Some patients have this test performed yearly to follow the growth of a known Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA). This test will take about 30-45 minutes to perform.
- Renal Artery ultrasound is a test showing the blood vessels which carry blood in and out of the kidney. These arteries may narrow or become blocked, which may result in abnormal kidney function or hypertension. The rate or speed of the flow through the arteries is measured using pulsed Doppler ultrasound, which will help determine the degree of narrowing of the artery or stenosis. During this test the patient may be asked to change positions in order to better visualize the vessels. Patients who have these vessels opened with a balloon or stent require follow up routinely to evaluate patency of these blood vessels. Please allow 60 minutes for this test.
- Mesenteric Artery Ultrasound is performed on patients who complain of abdominal pain after meals, weight loss, or have known Mesenteric Insufficiency. The Celiac Artery, Superior Mesenteric Artery (SMA), and the Aorta are evaluated for narrowing or stenosis. This test may be performed before and after a meal. We will supply the patient with a high calorie liquid meal, such as Ensure, Glucerna for diabetics, or other breakfast food. Please allow most of the morning for this test. (90 minutes).
The patient will be able to leave immediately after the test is completed. The physician will analyze the images and a written report will be sent to the referring doctor within 48 hours. The Technologist is not permitted to give the patient results of their testing.