Finding and locating blood clots in arms and legs
Your doctor may order a venous ultrasound to look for blood clots in the arms or legs, a condition called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. This test may also be called a “DVT panel.” Detecting blood clots early on can help your doctor determine the best treatment approach to prevent any clots from “separating” from the veins and traveling to other parts of the body, particularly the lungs.
How venous ultrasound works
The technician uses a transducer (plastic wand) that puts out high-frequency sound waves. The sound waves bounce off of muscle, tissue, blood cells, fat, and bone, and reflect back to the transducer at a slower speed. This difference in speed is the measurement used to determine blockages in your veins.
The ultrasound also allows us to listen to your veins functioning (opening and closing of valves in the veins). If your valves are not closing completely, you may have venous insufficiency, which allows blood to leak back through the valve. Untreated varicose veins may cause this condition.
Venous ultrasound also looks for enlarged lymph nodes, Baker’s cysts, and hematomas.
Ultrasound testing is painless and harmless. It involves no radiation. The results of your test will be reviewed by a radiologist who is trained in identifying and treating vein diseases and conditions. The radiologist will communicate your results to the doctor who referred you.
If your doctor has requested same-day testing, we will call the doctor as soon as we have the results of your ultrasound.