If you think you are having an issue with your heart, arteries or veins, comprehensive diagnostic testing is the first step to knowing the problem and creating a treatment program that best suits your needs.
At Michigan Medicine, we offer full-service cardiovascular diagnostics with the latest equipment and a credentialed staff so your tests are performed properly and read correctly, all with a quick turnaround.
Our full-range of diagnostic services includes the types of tests below. More details about each type of test are below the lists.
Cardiac catheterization is a heart test using soft, thin plastic catheters to take pressure measurements inside the heart and to inject dye so pictures of the heart can be taken. It is performed prior to angioplasty to identify blockages. Learn more about cardiac catheterization on our Angioplasty and Stenting page.
- Vascular Ultrasound
- Cerebrovascular Ultrasound: Carotid Ultrasound, Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound
- Peripheral Venous Ultrasound: Venous Ultrasound, Venous Insufficiency Ultrasound
- Abdominal Vascular Ultrasound: Renal artery Ultrasound,Abdominal aorta/Iliac ultrasound, Mesenteric ultrasound,
Peripheral Arterial Exams:
- Lower arterial Doppler/Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)
- Upper arterial Doppler
- Arterial Duplex
Other Cardiovascular Diagnostic Tests:
- Pulmonary testing
- Stress testing
Vascular ultrasound is a noninvasive, safe procedure which uses soundwaves to produce an image. This exam requires the use of a water based gel, transducer and an ultrasound machine. The transducer sends soundwaves into the body and interprets the echo of sound waves returned back, producing an image which is display on the machine.
Ultrasound exams are generally painless and each exam varies in the length of time to perform. Once the exam is complete, your images are combined with a preliminary report that is interpreted by a physician certified in vascular ultrasound interpretation. Final results are available to your physician within 24 – 48 hours.
Carotid ultrasound: During a carotid ultrasound the arteries in the neck are examined. This exam checks the blood flow within the arteries and evaluates plaque which may cause blockage in the artery. This exam is also commonly done as a pre-op exam to reduce risk of stroke.
Transcranial Doppler ultrasound: A transcranial Doppler exam is used to image the arteries within the brain. Ultrasound gel and a transducer will be placed on the area of the temple. This exam is generally done while patients are in the hospital after suffering subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Venous ultrasound: A venous exam is commonly done on the legs checking for DVT (Deep venous thrombosis), or blood clots. This exam is fairly painless, however, some slight pressure will be applied to assess for blood clots. The veins that are imaged for this exam include all veins in the leg starting in the groin and ending at the ankle. This exam can also be done on the upper extremity. Upper extremity venous ultrasound is commonly done on patients who have peripheral IV (intravenous) lines or PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) lines who have arm pain or swelling.
Venous insufficiency: This exam is very similar to the lower extremity venous ultrasound. This exam studies the deep and superficial (closer to the skin) veins checking the venous valve function. Varicose veins and long-term leg swelling are common reasons for this exam. A venous insufficiency ultrasound generally takes over 1 hour to complete and you may be asked to stand for portions of the exam. You will also be asked to perform breathing maneuvers to help assess the valves.
Renal artery ultrasound: Ultrasound on the abdomen checking the aorta, renal arteries and the kidneys. This exam checks the blood supply to the kidneys and is commonly ordered when patients have uncontrollable hypertension. You will be asked to have nothing to eat 8 hours prior to this exam.
Abdominal aorta/Iliac artery ultrasound: Ultrasound on the abdomen checking the blood flow and the size of the abdominal aorta and iliac arteries. This test is commonly ordered when patients have family history of aneurysm or your physician is concerned. This can also be ordered as a covered, screening at your welcome to Medicare visit. You will be asked to have nothing to eat 8 hours prior to this exam.
Mesenteric ultrasound: Ultrasound on the abdomen checking the superior mesenteric and celiac arteries that supply blood flow to the digestive organs. This is often ordered if you experience pain and cramping after eating, have unexplained weight loss or your physician hears an abnormal sound in your abdomen called an abdominal bruit. You will be asked to have nothing to eat 8 hours prior to this exam.
Peripheral Arterial Exams
Lower arterial Doppler/Ankle Brachial Index (ABI): Noninvasive exam that uses blood pressure cuffs and a Doppler probe to check the arteries in the legs. This exam is commonly ordered if you experience pain in your legs while, walking, or are diabetic. Cuffs will be placed on the arms, ankles and toe. The test may also require cuff placement/pressures in the thigh and calf and may be slightly uncomfortable due increased pressure requirement to compress the large thigh muscles. If your physician orders an exercise exam you will be asked to walk on a treadmill at a slow pace.
Upper arterial Doppler: Noninvasive exam that uses blood pressure cuffs and a Doppler probe to check the arteries in the arms. This exam is often order if you experience pain or numbness in your arms. Cuffs will be placed on the upper and lower arm and fingers. This exam may also be ordered with maneuvers. If you have pain or numbness with your arm in a particular positon, your physician may order the exam with maneuvers. You will be asked to place your arm in different positions in order to capture the arterial tracing to determine if the different positions cause your arm pain.
Arterial Duplex: Ultrasound exam checking the arteries in the arms and legs. During this exam all the arteries in the legs or arm are evaluated. This exam can be used to check for blockage, prior to surgery or to follow up on stents placed in the arteries.
About the Michigan Medicine Diagnostic Vascular Ultrasound Lab
Our noninvasive Diagnostic Vascular Ultrasound Labs are full-service and accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories, performing approximately 33, 000 studies annually. We test for diseases and conditions affecting the arteries and veins of the circulatory system. Patients get same-day testing for emergency studies — usually within four hours of request. Non-emergency tests take place between 24-36 hours after request. Seven convenient testing locations are available.
We offer a variety of vascular ultrasound, Doppler, and plethysmography studies such as:
- Carotid duplex exams to check the carotid arteries for narrowing or blockage
- Venous exams for both lower and upper extremities to look for blood clots
- Arterial studies, both duplex and physiological testing, to check blood flow
- Abdominal aortic scans for aortic aneurysms and flow
- Abdominal vascular exams, including renal and mesenteric arteries
- Transcranial Doppler studies to assess intracranial blood flow
To see a list of all of our Diagnostic Vascular Ultrasound Labs visit our Cardiovascular Diagnostics Locations page.
About the Michigan Medicine Echocardiography Laboratory
The Michigan Medicine Echocardiography Laboratory performs over 32,000 echocardiographic studies per year. These are performed using state-of-the-art equipment at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, the University of Michigan Hospital, and several Michigan Medicine ambulatory care clinics. Echocardiographic procedures performed include:
- Transthoracic echocardiography
- Transesophageal echocardiography
- Stress echocardiography
- Advanced echocardiographic imaging techniques including strain imaging and 3-dimensional echocardiography
Echocardiographic studies are interpreted by Michigan Medicine cardiology faculty with expertise in echocardiography.
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