Venous Ultrasound Diagnosis
A venous ultrasound test is painless, simple, and readily available. A transducer (ultrasound broadcaster and receiver) is placed on the area under surveillance and the reflected waves are computed digitally to construct an image.
The venous ultrasound tests are important in that they offer the following advantages:
- Easier and less traumatic central line placement into the internal jugular vein or femoral vein when compared with the use of landmarks alone. Many professional organizations, including cardiovascular anesthesiologists, now recommend it as the initial step in placing central lines.
- Placement of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs), another way to gain central access, but through the easier-to-place veins of the upper extremity, e.g., brachial and basilic veins. This type of a line eliminates much of the frequent discomfort that comes from drawing frequent blood samples from patients who are being followed closely via serial blood tests.
- Maintenance of central lines to identify and remedy any line migration or improper positioning.
- Peripheral IV placement in patients who are obese or scarred from previous IV therapy, chemotherapy, IV drug abuse, previous surgery, or radiation. Also, as surgical patients require IVs and with most of them asked to fast from the night before, dehydration will collapse normally visible veins and render them impossible to identify.
- Map out veins for donation in autologous bypass grafting, such as in coronary artery bypass grafting.
- Confirm correct intraosseous (marrow) needle placement.
Diagnosis of the following are made possible by non-invasive ultrasound testing:
- Diagnosis of lower extremity conditions such as venous stasis and life-threatening conditions such as thrombophlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary emboli
- Identify tumors of vascular origin
- Identify congenital malformations, such as arteriovenous fistulas
- Post-traumatic appraisal of circulation in a traumatized limb
- Identify clues to infection, such as a greater-than-normal blood flow