Vascular Procedures and Patient Preparation

Procedure Duration Requirements

Ankle Brachial Index

This procedure involves taking the blood pressure in your arms and your ankles. It is commonly performed with lower limb arterial scans.

15 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Aortic-iliac Arteries/Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Ultrasound (AAA)

This is an ultrasound of your abdomen, to visualise the blood flow in the aorta and other main arteries and exclude any abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

45 – 60 minutes

You must fast for at least 5 hours prior to the ultrasound, with only minimal water to be taken with medication. No smoking and no chewing gum.

Arterial Lower Limb

This involves an ultrasound of the arteries within one or both of your legs to assess adequacy of blood flow and stenosis (blockages).

45 – 60 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Arterial Upper Limb

This involves an ultrasound of the arteries within one or both of your arms to assess adequacy of blood flow and stenosis (blockages).

45 – 60 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Arteriovenous Fistula

This is an ultrasound of the arm (or leg) which has a fistula.

60 minutes

No specific preparation required, however it’s a good idea to book this test on a day that you don’t have dialysis.

Bypass Graft Surveillance

This procedure is an ultrasound of the area of your arterial bypass graft (usually within the legs).

45 – 60 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Carotid Doppler

This procedure involves an ultrasound of the arteries within your neck, to exclude any significant plaque or stenosis (blockages) within these arteries.

30 – 45 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

This procedure involves an ultrasound of the deep veins in one or both of your legs, to exclude any deep vein thrombosis (clots). It involves some pressure on your leg, with only minimal discomfort.

30 – 45 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Mesenteric Artery Duplex

This is an ultrasound of your abdominal area, focussing on the arteries that supply blood to your small and large intestines.

45 – 60 minutes

You are required to fast for at least 5 hours; minimal water is allowed with medication. No smoking and no chewing gum.

Renal Access Workup

This is an ultrasound of one, or both of your arms to assess the size of all veins and the blood flow in the arteries. It is commonly performed to determine suitability for a fistula.

60 minutes

No specific preparation required, however it’s a good idea to have eaten and be well hydrated prior to this test.

Renal Artery Ultrasound

This involves ultrasound of your abdomen, focussing specifically on your kidney(s) and the arteries which supply them.

45 – 60 minutes

You are required to fast for at least 5 hours; minimal water is allowed with medication. No smoking and no chewing gum.

Vein Mapping

This involves an ultrasound of the veins within one, or both of your legs. The test is predominantly performed with you standing, and may involve the sonographer ‘drawing’ on your legs to mark where specific veins are located.

30 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Venous Lower Limb

This procedure involves an ultrasound of the veins in one, or both of your legs. It is useful for diagnosing varicose veins and evaluating possible treatment options. The test will be performed with you seated, as well as standing and involves some gentle ‘squeezing’ of your calf muscles to determine blood flow characteristics of your veins.

45 – 60 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Venous Upper Limb

This is an ultrasound of one, or both of your arms. It may involve some gentle ‘squeezing’ of your arms to determine the blood flow characteristics of the veins within your arms.

45 – 60 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Why do I need to fast?

Fasting is important to ensure the highest quality imaging. By following the appropriate fasting instructions, you will assist the vascular sonographers to scan clear imaging for vascular specialists to make a detailed diagnostic report in a timely manner for referrers.

Diabetic patients who are fasting

If your blood sugar levels are low, you are able to drink a small amount of tea with sugar or orange juice, or eat a hard boiled sweet if required prior to having your vascular ultrasound test.