Testing Vascular Disease

Cleveland Clinic's accredited Vascular Laboratory performs non-invasive studies such as diagnostic ultrasound and segmental pressures/ pulse volume recordings to detect vascular disease. Ultrasound is the most important tool in the vascular laboratory. Large ultrasound machines are used to take pictures of blood vessels and blood flow in these vessels with color Doppler and pulsed Doppler. Segmental pressures and pulse volume recordings is another important tool used in a vascular laboratory. These tests are performed to locate the area of blockage in the arms and legs.

After a physician’s physical examination, testing in a vascular laboratory is often the first step in diagnosing vascular disease. Specific tests are ordered according to the patient’s symptoms and suspected vascular problems. Diagnosing vascular disease begins by taking a careful medical history, including risk factors and a physical exam (including symptoms, temperature of the skin, appearance of limbs and blood vessels, and presence or absence of pulses).

From this information, the physician decides if further testing is needed. Testing is performed by a registered vascular technologist/sonographer. Non-invasive testing utilizes various types of technology to evaluate flow, perfusion, and pressures within the vessels at rest and with exercise. These procedures are generally painless and can help to determine if blood vessel disease is present, the location, and severity. Once a test is completed, the images are sent to a physician for review and interpretation. From the results of these tests, the physician will determine the need for more non-invasive testing or procedures to treat vascular disease.

Cleveland Clinic's non-invasive vascular laboratory is committed to world class patient care and service. It is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission* which means that the lab has a long-term commitment to high standards of quality patient care and monitoring.

Studies performed in the non-invasive vascular laboratory include:

Cleveland Clinic's Non-invasive Vascular Lab is one of the busiest laboratories in the country. The average number of studies performed in one day range from 110-130 studies. This provides a highly skilled staff and an exceptional environment for education and training.An affiliation with the Oregon Institute of Technology* and Cuyagoga Community College allows for education and training of vascular technology students. Additionally, we offer educational opportunities for outside vascular surgeons, vascular internists, cardiologists, and ultrasound technologists who are interested in expanding their knowledge base and ultrasound skills.

Features of the non-invasive vascular laboratory include:

  • Staff of 18 physicians, 26 registered vascular technologists, and four registered lead technologists. Each study is reviewed and interpreted by either a vascular medicine physician or a vascular surgeon.
  • Two fully functional vascular laboratories are available for patient care in J3-5 or F30. Vascular screenings are also available in J3-5. Diagnostic machines have portable capability to meet the needs of the entire Cleveland Clinic patient population.
  • The lab is committed to meet the needs of patients and staff, including patients involved in research studies and outside physician referrals.
  • Digital image management sets us apart from all vascular laboratories in terms of information processing and accuracy. Computer workstations allow the immediate transfer of digital information at the time of examination and allow the physician to be able to review critical images more easily. This system allows for review of duplex ultrasound examinations, arteriography, MRI, and CT scans. This enables a direct comparison of different modalities of imaging for better and quicker correlation and quality assurance.
  • Continuing education and a commitment to state-of-the-art technology allows for a knowledgeable and well-trained staff.

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