The Vascular Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital specializes in using ultrasound to evaluate for vascular diseases that may affect how well blood flows in the arteries and veins. The Vascular Laboratory examines blood vessels throughout the body that feed major organs and tissue. These tests can help to diagnose and treat many vascular conditions, including peripheral arterial disease (PAD), aneurysms, stroke and thoracic outlet syndrome.
The Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital Vascular Laboratory is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission – which speaks to the high standard of care you will receive while under our care.
The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a test that uses inflatable pressure cuffs to assess blood flow in the legs and arms.
What to Expect
A registered vascular technologist (RVT) will measure the blood pressure in your arm and ankles using a blood pressure cuff. The RVT will compare the blood pressure from your ankles and your arm to form an ABI ratio, which is a predictor of how the circulation in your legs is performing.
The duplex ultrasound evaluates the blood flow through your vessels. There are several varying types of ultrasound exams for this, including:
Carotid ultrasound – ultrasound of the carotid arteries in the neck to identify or rule out blockages that can lead to a stroke
Renal ultrasound – ultrasound of the blood flow to the kidney to evaluate if there are significant blockages to the kidneys
Abdominal ultrasound – ultrasound of the abdomen for identification and evaluation of aneurysmal disease of the aorta and its branches
Mesenteric ultrasound – ultrasound of the mesenteric arteries to evaluate blockages that may be contributing to abdominal pain or ischemia of the intestines
What to Expect
An RVT will place a clear gel on the skin and use an ultrasound scanning probe to obtain images of your veins.
Before the Test
Confirm specific medication and dietary restrictions with your physician.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
After the Test
Your report will be reviewed and read by a vascular surgeon who is highly experienced in the reading of Vascular Laboratory examinations. This report will then be available to your referring physician in your electronic health record immediately after it is completed. If follow-up care is needed, you may also have an appointment with a vascular physician who will review your symptoms and the findings of the Vascular Laboratory testing to design a treatment program to improve your condition.
There are usually no side effects or complications associated with ABI and duplex ultrasound examinations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Noninvasive Vascular Laboratory Testing
If your doctor is in the Mass General Brigham network, they will have access to your results immediately after the attending physician signs the test. If they are not in the Mass General Brigham network, we will fax them a copy as soon as it is requested by your provider.
Any patient arriving more than 15 minutes late to an appointment will have to be rescheduled. To reschedule your appointment, please call 617-983-7160 as soon as you know you will not be able to make your scheduled testing.