Non Invasive Vascular Testing
Parkersburg Vascular Laboratory provides outpatient vascular testing to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. A variety of tests are offered to provide the referring physician or caregiver the results necessary for treatment. Testing is peifonned in an office setting for patient comfort and convenience. The laboratory maintains the highest level of standards and accuracy by maintaining certification through the intersocietal Accreditation Commission (L4C).
Ultrasound testing is the preferred method for diagnosis of vascular disease. Patients at highest risk for vascular disease are persons with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or a current or previous smoker. Some of the most common vascular diseases are:
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the wall of the aorta, the main artery in the abdomen, progressively weakens. This causes a dilatation of the aorta called an aneurysm. This aneurysm will grow and eventually rupture if not diagnosed and treated. Prior to rupture, no symptoms are typically associated with aneurysms. A strong family predominance for aneurysm increases the patient risk. Diagnosis is made by performing a10-15 minute ultrasound examination which will measure the size of the aorta.
Hypertension: Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common medical condition that has a variety of underlying causes. Renal artery stenosis is one such condition. Renal artery stenosis occurs when the vessels that supply blood to the kidneys develops a buildup of plaque most commonly caused by atherosclerosis. Typically patients with renal artery stenosis develop high blood pressure that is not controlled with medication. Diagnosis may be made by performing a 30 minute ultrasound examination of blood flow through the arteries to the kidneys.
CVA or Stroke: A CVA or Stroke may be caused by carotid artery sten.osis. Carotid artery stenosis occurs when the main blood vessels to the brain develop a buildup of plaque caused by atherosclerosis. When the buildup becomessevere it can cause a stroke. The process is similar to the plaque buildup that causes heart attacks. No symptoms are typically associated with carotid stenosis prior to the onset of ministroke/stroke. Diagnosis is made by performing a 15-30 minute ultrasound examination that evaluates for the presence of plaque and measures the speed of the blood through the right and left carotid arteries.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Peripheral artery disease occurs when atherosclerosis causes a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the tissues of the lower extremities. Early on, PAD can cause difficult walking, but in severe cases it can cause painful foot ulcers, infections or gangrene which may result in amputation. The most common symptom associated with PAD is pain with walking that subsides with rest. Diagnosis typically made by performing a 30-45 minute doppler examination that compares the pressure in four segments of the leg to the arm, commonly known as a Ankle- Brachial Index (AB1).
Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT): Deep venous thrombosis occurs when thrombus collects within the veins of the upper or lower extremities. This thrombus typically causes acute symptoms and if not treated may result in serious health complications. Typical symptoms may include pain, redness, or swelling of the affected limb. Diagnosis is made by performing a 10-15 minute ultrasound examination to evaluate for patency of the venous system.
Varicose Veins: Varicose Veins are the result of a condition known as venous reflux. Venous reflux occurs when the valves of the lower extremities do not function properly. Veins of the lower extremities are designed to carry the bloodfrom the feet back to the heart. In the leg, blood has to flow upward, against gravity. Therefore, the veins of the lower extremities are equipped with one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards. When these valves fail toclose tightly, the blood flows in both directions, allowing blood to pool resulting in varicose veins. Symptoms include pain and heaviness of the affected limb.
Vascular Screening Program: The Parkersburg Vascular Laboratory offers once a month low cost vascular screenings of the aorta, carotids, and lower extremity arterial circulation_ This screening is performed on the second Friday of themonth. The cost of the screening is $70. Lab work is available for an additional fee. This program is not covered by medical insurance. Therefore, the screening fee is due at the time of examination. Patients are given the ultrasound remits on the day of the exam with a copy faxed to the provider of choice. Lab work is mailed to the patient at a later time. This service is an excellent opportunity for patients who either do not have insurance or are at high risk for vascular disease to be evaluated.