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Primary types of ultrasound tests provided by cardiac, vascular or internal medicine practices

Posted on: 03.05.15 by Digirad

Cardiologists, vascular surgeons, and internal medicine providers use noninvasive ultrasound technology in a number of different ways. We’ve compiled a list of the most common types of ultrasound that can be provided in the doctor’s office. Take a look…

Cardiac Ultrasounds

Cardiac ultrasounds are used to diagnose and analyze the blood flow and function of the heart:

  • Echocardiograms – (referred to as “echos”) are sonograms of the heart. Echos use two-dimensional and three-dimensional ultrasound to create an image of the heart, and Doppler is used to assess blood flow through the heart and vessels.
  • Stress Echos— use ultrasound to show how well the heart muscles are working and whether or not there is a decrease in blood flow to the heart during rest, and stress periods (typically from exercising on a treadmill). For those patients who, due to arthritis or other conditions, are unable to exercise, a Pharmaceutical Stress Echo may be performed, which uses a medicine injected into the patient intravenously to stimulate the heart as if the patient were exercising.
  • Contrast Echos—used to improve overall image resolution to show how well blood is flowing through the heart and the heart muscle. The contrast is provided by the use of an agitated saline solution or a contrast agent injected intravenously.

Vascular Ultrasounds

Vascular ultrasounds are used to analyze the flow of blood through the arteries and veins:

  • Carotid—Carotid ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that examines the structure and blood flow of the carotid arteries in the neck to detect any plaque buildup within the arteries.
  • Upper and Lower Extremity Ultrasound—Ultrasound examination of the upper and lower extremities that analyzes for peripheral vascular disease.
  • Abdominal Vasculature Ultrasound—Vascular ultrasound is used to examine the function of the blood vessels and the flow of blood in the abdominal aorta, renal artery, and mesenteric arteries.
  • Vein Mapping—Venous mapping is used to map the veins of the patient’s legs in preparation for graft surgery or bypass surgery. Vein mapping also provides information for the treatment of varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, leg swelling, and other conditions.

General Studies Ultrasounds

General studies ultrasounds are used for a variety of diagnostic purposes for the following organ systems:

  • Thyroid—Checks for underactive and overactive thyroid glands, nodules, and cysts.
  • Gall bladder—Provides a view of the structure of the gall bladder from different angles, and can be useful in the detection of cancer and gallstones.
  • Kidney—Determines the size, shape, and function of the kidneys, and can be useful in the detection of kidney stones, cysts, and tumors.
  • Liver—Determines the size, shape, and function of the liver, and can be used to detect tumors.
  • Pancreas—Determines the size, shape, and location of the pancreas, and can be used to detect tumors.
  • Pelvic—Provides a picture of the organs and structure in the lower belly.
  • Soft tissue—Helps evaluate infections of the soft tissue, including cellulitis, abcesses, masses, and fluid retention.

Mobile Ultrasound Services

Mobile ultrasound services are a way for you to offer a wider range of ultrasound imaging in your office. Digirad can supplement your existing staff and equipment or we can manage all of your ultrasound needs with our team of sonographers and equipment.



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