Venous Doppler and CVI
VENOUS DOPPLER is a specialized ultrasound procedure most commonly performed in the legs but sometimes in the arms or neck.
Patients with leg (or arm) swelling can be evaluated with a venous ultrasound exam for the presence of a blood clot, often called a "DVT" (deep vein thrombosis). If present, these patients need to be treated with blood thinners to reduce the risk of further complications.
CVI STUDY. A second type of venous doppler examination is a "Chronic Venous Insufficiency" (CVI) examination. This study measures the movement of blood through the veins including the direction of the blood flow. Lower extremity veins have "one-way" valves that are supposed to only allow blood to flow in one direction (towards the heart!). In patients with venous insufficiency, these "one-way" valves are incompetent and flow becomes bi-directional, initially flowing towards the heart but then "refluxing" backwards towards the feet. This results in the leg veins becoming overloaded with blood resulting in a variety of symptoms.
Venous insufficiency patients may have leg discomfort, leg swelling, varicose veins, venous stasis skin changes ("staining" of the skin) and may even develop non-healing skin ulcers requiring long-term wound care.
A CVI study evaluates "venous insufficiency" (also known as "venous reflux") and is the best test to determine appropriate medical therapy ranging from compression stockings to venous ablation procedures in which the problem-causing vein is closed down. (Venous doppler is also used to evaluate the success of such venous ablation procedures.)
During a venous Doppler examination, a clear gel is applied to the skin of the targeted area, and an ultrasound transducer is pressed gently against the skin to produce images of the venous structures and to measure the velocity and direction of the venous blood flow. This procedure is painless and takes less than 30 minutes to perform.
Venous ultrasound is the "gold standard" for identifying blood clots as well as for evaluating venous insufficiency. The results of this study which allow your physician to initiate treatment to relieve symptoms and to prevent serious complications.