Atrium Health Navicent Heart & Vascular Care

Vascular Surveillance Program in our Vascular Lab

A model of DNA being held by a lab technician

Vascular surveillance is a newer disease management practice to better control treatment outcomes for patients with vein disorders and diseases. A "vascular disease" is currently defined as any disorder or disease that primarily affects the body's circulatory system, whether in whole or in part.

In this post, learn more about the vascular surveillance program in our vascular lab, how it works, what to expect and treatment outcome improvements participation can provide.

An Overview of Vein Disorders and Vascular Diseases

There are five major types of vascular disease, in addition to other disease and disorders that may affect the vascular (circulatory) system.

The five major types of vascular disease are listed here:

Arterial Disease: When plaque begins to build up along the insides of the walls of the arteries, this is called arterial disease.

Venous Disease: Venous disease occurs when the valves of the veins cease to fully close, permitting blood to flow in both directions.

Blood Clots: Blood clots can form anywhere in the body. But it is when they begin to travel and block blood flow that they can become dangerous or fatal.

Aortic Aneurysm: When an aneurysm (bulge in the wall of a blood vessel) occurs in the aorta, the heart's major blood vessel, it is called an aortic aneurysm.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia: FMD, as it is called for short, is a quite rare disease that occurs when the larger arteries experience abnormal cell growth. This growth can cause the arteries to narrow or close.

An Overview of Vascular Surveillance Program Uses

The term "vascular surveillance" refers to the ongoing monitoring of the overall health and viability of the circulatory system. Your doctor may recommend participation in a vascular surveillance program in our vascular lab if you have a family history of vascular disease or are currently being treated for a vascular disease.

In particular, vascular surveillance programs are becoming more popular today for these two uses: treatment monitoring and preventative monitoring.

Examples of Treatment Monitoring

Treatment monitoring is required when an individual is being treated for any health condition that may affect the circulatory system's viability. For example, if you have had vascular surgery or treatment for stenosis, a narrowing of the blood vessels, vascular surveillance can ensure you are healing well and there is no further return of symptoms.

Similarly, if you are currently undergoing kidney dialysis treatments, participation in a vascular surveillance program in our vascular lab can prevent an unnecessary loss of your access point in the limb that is used for your dialysis treatments.

Examples of Preventative Monitoring

Vascular surveillance is also used as an early warning system in patients known to be at risk for many types of vascular disease.

Here, participation in a vascular surveillance program in our vascular lab can detect stenosis, thrombosis (blood clotting) and other potentially fatal developments in the circulatory system.

Vascular Surveillance for Renal Disease

Vascular surveillance is becoming increasingly critical for managing vascular access for dialysis treatments. If you or a loved one is currently having dialysis treatments, you are likely aware that your access point requires careful, daily monitoring. If you detect any change at the access point, it is important to alert your doctor right away.

Vascular surveillance takes the guesswork out of monitoring your access point for early warnings signs of stenosis, thrombosis or other complications. These complications called "vascular dysfunctions," can cause unnecessary delays in receiving your dialysis treatments in a timely manner. It can also reduce the risks associated with having to open up a new access point.

Techniques in Vascular Surveillance for Dialysis Access

As the new science of vascular surveillance continues to develop, a variety of proven techniques is now available for mainstream medical monitoring.

Here are examples of some of the best-known techniques in use for vascular surveillance and what they are commonly used for:

Access Blood Flow: This test uses an introduced substance (i.e. glucose or saline) to reverse the bloodlines (arterial, venous) and control for changes in pressure during dialysis blood pump.

Static Venous Pressure: This test measures dynamic pressure during dialysis against static pressure between treatments.

Duplex Ultrasound: This test measures for overall blood flow during dialysis blood pump.

Techniques in Vascular Surveillance for Vascular Treatment Monitoring

In addition to the many uses of vascular surveillance for easing access issues in dialysis patients, vascular surveillance is very useful to diagnose and monitor a number of commonly occurring vascular diseases, including the following diseases:

  • Development Of Vein Maps
  • Detection Of Venous Obstruction (Varicose Veins)
  • Renal Artery Duplex Scan
  • An Aortic Aneurysm (Abdominal, Thoracic)
  • Bypass Graft Evaluation And Monitoring
  • Carotid Artery Evaluation And Monitoring
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis Evaluation And Monitoring
  • False (Pseudoaneurysm) Diagnosis And Monitoring
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Testing And Monitoring

When you participate in the vascular surveillance program in our vascular lab, your doctor will prescribe the surveillance tests most useful for monitoring your particular vascular health issues. You may need to return for periodic monitoring (i.e. every 3 or 6 months, et al) if you have had vascular surgery to monitor your healing process.

In summary, as the field of vascular science and surveillance continues to advance, the technology is being used in new ways for earlier detection, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of a wide variety of vascular diseases and vein disorders.