Diagnostic imaging allows doctors look inside the body for clues about a medical condition. A variety of machines and techniques can create pictures of the structures and activities inside the body. The type of imaging your doctor uses depends on your symptoms and the part of your body being examined.
Renown Institute for Heart and Vascular Health's superior technology allows our physicians to detect problems earlier and with higher accuracy to create the best possible outcomes for patients.
Catheter angiography uses a catheter, x-ray imaging guidance and an injection of contrast material to examine blood vessels in key areas of the body for abnormalities such as aneurysms and diseases like athersclerosis (plaque). Using a catheter makes it possible to combine diagnosis and treatment in a single procedure. Catheter angiography produces accurate, clear and detailed images of blood vessels and may eliminate the need for surgery. This technology can guide minimally invasive treatment for a variety of vascular diseases.
Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)
Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) is a scan that uses radio waves and strong magnetic fields to create images of blood vessels inside the body. This allows physicians to see the blood flow through the arteries in real time and find narrow spots.
An ultrasound uses sound waves and echoes to create a black-and-white image or map of the inside of the body. In order to conduct an ultrasound on an artery, the physician places a transducer (a small hand-held device that emits the waves) on the skin over the artery he or she is examining. The images the ultrasound returns help the physician locate blockages.
Physicians can find signs of vascular disease during a physical examination, such as a weak or absent pulse below a narrowed area of an artery, whooshing sounds heard when placing a stethoscope over the arteries, evidence of poor wound healing in the area where blood flow is restricted and decreased blood pressure in the affected limb.
The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a measurement of the blood pressure in the lower legs compared to the blood pressure in the arms. The physician places blood pressure cuffs on the patient's arms and legs. With the cuffs inflated, the physician uses a hand-held device called a Doppler to listen to blood flow. The ABI is a highly accurate screening tool that helps evaluate the amount of blood flow to the legs and feet, which is decreased in a person with vascular disease.
Patients with vascular disease may not exhibit symptoms when at rest. The exertion required by the treadmill test increases the stress on the vascular system and exposes symptoms for a more accurate diagnosis.
A simple blood test to measure cholesterol and triglycerides and check for diabetes helps physicians gauge a patient's risk and overall health.