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Vascular Laboratory

Please note: If you are looking for information on treatment for Varicose Veins please click here. Vascular scientists perform and interpret a range of non-invasive diagnostic studies to assess arterial and venous blood flows and anatomy in order to assist the doctor’s diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. The majority of investigations are performed using non-invasive ultrasound imaging and continuous-wave Doppler. This creates real-time images and flow dynamics of the arteries and veins, helping to locate thrombosis, stenosis, aneurysm and other vascular system abnormalities. The arterial blood flows of the extremities are also assessed using blood pressure measurements obtained via continuous-wave Doppler. The Vascular Laboratory is located in the non-invasive cardiology department on the 3rd Floor of the hospital. This laboratory is available to patients referred by their Consultant or GP to facilitate all non-invasive vascular diagnostic needs.

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Tel: 01 293 8648.

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The following types of investigations are performed in our Vascular Laboratory:

Carotid and vertebral artery duplex:

This is a non-invasive vascular ultrasound which is done to assess the blood flow of the arteries in the neck which supply blood from the heart through to the brain. The real-time images and blood flow velocities obtained are used to detect narrowing or occlusions of the vessels which can cause stroke.

Ankle-brachial index (ABI)/Toe pressure index (TPI):

ABI is a non-invasive diagnostic study utilising blood pressure measurements to evaluate arterial perfusion of the lower limbs. It is a ratio of blood pressure in the lower legs/toes to the blood pressure in the arm. The result of this can help diagnose peripheral arterial disease.

Lower limb arterial duplex:

If a reduced ABI or toe pressure is obtained, a lower limb arterial duplex scan may be carried out. This is a detailed study, imaging, identifying and quantifying areas of narrowing or blockage in the lower limb arterial tree.

Post-operative graft surveillance:

Once a vascular graft or bypass is put in place it is routinely scanned at regular intervals to ensure it remains free of narrowing or blockage.

Abdominal aortic duplex:

The abdominal aorta is the largest artery in the abdominal cavity. Using ultrasound, the aorta is scanned from the midline to determine the presence or absence of an aneurysm (a dilatation of the artery) also known as an AAA. Once diagnosed, an AAA can be monitored routinely, and surgically repaired if necessary. The iliac arteries are also assessed routinely as part of this examination.

EVAR surveillance:

An endovascular repair of an AAA is called an EVAR. Following an EVAR, the graft and the aneurysm sac must be followed up at regular intervals to assess for patency and to detect any leaks of the endovascular device.

Upper limb arterial pressures:

This is a non-invasive diagnostic study to evaluate perfusion of the upper limbs. As for the ABI, this is done by evaluating blood pressure measurements of the upper limb and digits to determine the presence of arterial abnormalities in the upper extremities.

Upper limb arterial duplex:

If abnormal pressure measurements are obtained, a detailed ultrasound of the upper limb and subclavian arteries can be performed. This helps identify the vessels which are narrowed or occluded.

Lower limb deep venous duplex:

This is an assessment of the patency of the deep veins of the legs, to rule out the presence of a deep vein thombosis (DVT). Duplex ultrasound is an excellent method of detecting and following up DVT.

Deep and superficial lower limb venous duplex:

This an ultrasound scan used to assess the competency and patency of the deep and superficial venous systems. The most common use of this test is for detection and mapping of varicose veins.