Arterial ultrasound of the lower extremities is a method of recording and evaluating arterial blood flow in the vessels of the legs in real time. It can be performed using Dopplerography, duplex or triplex scanning. Allows quantitative measurement of blood circulation parameters, to identify pathological processes in the arteries of the extremities (occlusion, atherosclerotic narrowing, vasculitis, angiopathy, etc.). During ultrasound, the sensor is placed in control points corresponding to the projections of the studied arteries, then the analysis of the resulting sonogram is performed.
Let’s consider a number of disturbing signs in which it is necessary to carry out diagnostics by ultrasound:
- Rapid fatigue of the legs;
- Discomfort and feeling of “heavy legs” after long walks;
- Restless legs syndrome;
- Convulsions of the lower extremities;
- Constantly cold feet;
- Visually noticeable veins;
- The appearance of vascular asterisks;
- Discoloration of the skin on the legs (pallor or cyanosis);
- Pain with minor physical exertion;
- The occurrence of ulcers on the lower extremities;
- Numbness of the skin of the feet;
- Upcoming surgery on the lower extremities.
As a preventive measure, it is recommended to carry out diagnostics once a year.
However, you need to visit a doctor more often if you have any of the above:
- Diabetes mellitus of any degree;
- Smoking for several years;
- Use of combined contraceptives;
- The presence of bad habits;
- High cholesterol in the blood;
- Suffered a heart attack or stroke, or suspicion of them;
- Already identified diseases of the lower extremities.
Advantages and disadvantages
Arterial ultrasound of the lower extremities is popular not only among patients, but also among doctors. First of all, it is necessary to note the safety of the study, because ultrasound does not harm the body at all. For the same reason, almost everyone can carry out diagnostics. The second significant advantage is the absence of moral and physical discomfort, because ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic technique, therefore it does not cause pain or unpleasant sensations. Also, the examination of blood vessels using ultrasound is considered quite informative – it allows you to identify pathological conditions of the veins and arteries of the lower extremities. Of course, this is true if the study is conducted by an experienced specialist on an expert-level apparatus.
But there are drawbacks. Ultrasound does not allow you to immediately make a final diagnosis. If during the manipulation the specialist discovers any deviations– a number of other diagnostic procedures will be required for the final confirmation of the diagnosis.
Arterial ultrasound of the lower extremities does not require special preparation. But still, for maximum information, experts give some recommendations:
- If you take any medications that affect the vessels, they should be canceled a day before the manipulation (of course, this should be agreed with the attending physician);
- Alcohol-containing beverages should be excluded two days before the procedure;
- You can not smoke 5 hours before the study;
- On the day of ultrasound diagnostics and the day before, try not to perform heavy physical exertion and avoid long walks;
- 2-3 days before the procedure, it is advisable to limit black tea, coffee and other tonic drinks;
If you have previously undergone vascular examinations of the lower extremities, take their results with you. Also, do not forget your passport and outpatient card.
There are no direct contraindications to ultrasound diagnostics. But in some cases, the examination may be difficult, and the results may be unreliable. This usually happens if the patient cannot lie still. This happens in people with mental disabilities. Excess weight can also affect the result. In such cases, the doctor may recommend other diagnostic procedures to establish an accurate diagnosis.
Dopplerography of the vessels of the lower extremities
Often, a doppler is used in the study of blood vessels. Dopplerography allows you to assess the condition and functioning of the blood flow.This method of research shows the speed of blood flow.
Dopplerography is necessarily used for the following complaints:
- With regular leg cramps;
- With severe edema;
- With a tendency to hematomas.
For the reliability of the results, it is necessary that the skin of the legs is smooth. Therefore, it is necessary to get rid of vegetation on the lower extremities.
The norm of arteries by ultrasound
If there are no pathological processes, the conclusion usually contains the following indicators:
- The speed and nature of blood flow are normal;
- The ripple index does not exceed 4;
- The damping factor varies between 1.1 and 1.5;
- The pressure in each artery may be different, but it is necessary to pay attention to the difference between them, which should not exceed 20 units;
- The malleolar-brachial index is normally no more than 1.0;
- Shoulder index – does not exceed 1.5.
- The patency is normal.
- Plaques and all kinds of extraneous inclusions are absent.
Please note that only a highly qualified specialist can qualitatively decipher the results of an ultrasound examination. Do not try to figure out these indicators yourself. Even if a diagnosis is indicated in the protocol, this is usually a preliminary conclusion. Only a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe treatment.