How do I Prepare for a Vascular Test?
Ready for your vascular test? If your doctor has determined you need vascular testing, you may be wondering why, what to expect or what preparations are necessary on your end before your appointment. How do I prepare for a vascular test?
A vascular test is a non-invasive exam of your arteries and veins. Vascular tests are performed to evaluate the overall health of your blood flow through the legs, arms, neck or abdomen. There can be a few different reasons your doctor may order a vascular test; as a diagnostic tool for symptoms that may indicate reduced blood flow, a follow up to determine if a procedure to improve blood flow was successful or because you have risk factors for diseases that can restrict the flow of blood through your arteries and veins. Vascular tests play an important role in diagnosing blood clots, carotid artery disease, vascular veins, plaque buildup in the arteries or aneurysms. Many of these diseases can be life-threatening if not caught early, so following through with a vascular exam is critically important.
There are several types of vascular tests that may be performed. Most vascular tests involve the use of an ultrasound in conjunction with other medical devices, such as a blood pressure cuff. You will be asked to remove pieces of clothing or change into a gown, depending on the area the ultrasound is focused on (such as the abdomen or arm). You will then be asked to lie down on the exam table. A clear gel will be applied to your skin, and then a transducer probe will be pushed against your skin. The ultrasound technician will move it around until the proper vein or artery is found; at this point you may hear the sound of your blood flowing through the ultrasound monitor. If necessary, a blood pressure cuff will be inflated to measure your blood pressure during the test. Finally, the gel will be wiped off and the vascular exam is complete.
While there is usually not anything special required of you to prepare for a vascular test, some common sense steps will make the process more comfortable for you. Ask your provider about any questions you have beforehand so you know what to expect. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to make accessing the test area easier. Depending on the type of vascular test, you may need to avoid certain medications, such as blood thinners, before the exam. You may also be asked to fast for a few hours before the test, but your physician will let you know this ahead of time.
Vascular testing is a simple, non-invasive procedure that can provide clarity on the health of your arteries and veins. Vascular testing can catch abnormalities before they turn serious, so it’s important to prioritize vascular screenings. To schedule a vascular test today, or to find out if this exam is right for you, call Westgate Family Physicians at (864) 574-0070.