Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What is ultrasound mapping?

Vein disease, which often manifests as varicose veins, is defined as the impairment of blood flow towards your heart. Oxygenated blood is constantly being pumped from the heart to the rest of our bodies through arteries. It is the job of our veins to carry deoxygenated blood back up to the heart.

Healthy veins have valves that open and close to assist the return of blood to the heart. Vein disease occurs when these valves become damaged, allowing the backward flow of blood in the legs where it can pool, leading to a feeling of heaviness and fatigue and causing varicose veins or other skin changes.

Ultrasound is a tool used to diagnose if and where a vein valve (or multiple valves) in the legs is damaged. High-frequency sound waves are used to create images that allow the doctor to see which veins have flow going in which direction—like a road map for the venous system.

A healthy vein will only allow flow from the feet towards the heart. Faulty veins are often connected, so finding the “source” of the problem is a complicated, but critical, step in establishing where exactly treatment should start.

Ultrasound is the gold standard for evaluation of chronic venous disease, and it is important to have a qualified sonographer perform the mapping in order to have accurate diagnostic results. To learn more about what to expect at a vein evaluation, visit our previous post on the topic.

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