ABC of arterial and venous disease: Non-invasive methods of arterial and venous assessment
Richard Donnelly, David Hinwood, Nick J M London
Although diagnostic and therapeutic decisions in patients with vascular disease are guided primarily by the history and physical examination, the use of non-invasive investigations has increased significantly in recent years, mainly as a result of technological advances in ultrasonography. This article describes the main investigative techniques.
In the simplest form of ultrasonography, ultrasound is transmitted as a continuous beam from a probe that contains two piezoelectric crystals. The transmitting crystal produces ultrasound at a fixed frequency (set by the operator according to the depth of the vessel being examined), and the receiving crystal vibrates in response to reflected waves and produces an output voltage. Conventional B mode (brightness mode) ultrasonography records the ultrasound waves reflected from tissue interfaces, and a two dimensional picture is built up according to the reflective properties of the tissues.