What Do Vascular Technologists Do?
Vascular technologists assist physicians in the diagnosis and
treatment of a wide variety of disorders affecting the vascular system
(excluding the heart). A wide range of instrumentation is used to
acquire and record information related to blood vessel anatomy and
This lab in the Stanford Vascular laboratory includes both
duplex ultrasound imager and a indirect Doppler ultrasound machine with a
treadmill for physiological assessment.
Ultrasound transmits high frequency sound waves into the body that
reflect off the vessels of interest. It is non-ionizing with no known
side effects to either the technologist performing the examination or
the patient being examined. The reflected sound waves are processed to
form high resolution, images of the blood vessels (B-mode imaging) and
to measure the speed and direction of the blood (Doppler Ultrasound).
Instruments with the capability of acquiring both B-mode imaging and
Doppler information are referred to as duplex scanners. Vascular
technologists also use instruments other than duplex scanners to measure
parameters such as blood pressure, limb volume changes, and oxygen
Anatomy: Segments of the vascular anatomy typically examined
include the cerebral circulation (blood supply to the brain), peripheral
circulation (blood supply to the upper and lower limbs), and the
abdominal circulation (blood supply to the gut, the kidneys and liver).
The specific segments examined are determined by the referring physician
and the patients' clinical symptoms.
Vascular technologists prepare patients for the examination by explaining the procedure; obtaining a pertinent clinical history through direct
questioning and review of the patient's prior records; and performing a
physical examination that usually involves observation of the patient,
palpation of pulses, auscultation (e.g. listening with a stethoscope),
and in some cases, measurement of blood pressures at various locations.
The vascular technologist then performs the examination, and records. Once the data is compiled by the technologist, it is reviewed and
interpreted by the physician and a final report dictated.
Formal education is offered through associate and baccalaureate
degrees in cardiovascular technology and diagnostic medical sonography.
Applicants should investigate the educational institution to verify that
upon graduation, they will be eligible to apply for the credentialing
exams offered through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).
Please visit the ARDMS and CCI websites to find out more information on
the examination. Graduates from programs that are accredited by the Commission of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
in vascular will automatically be eligible for the examinations. Visit
the CAAHEP website to locate a program near you at www.caahep.org.