A venous veins reflux exam is a test that shows how your blood moves through the arteries and veins of your legs. You’ll take this test at a vein clinic so that your doctor can evaluate whether your blood flow is the cause of venous veins symptoms you may have like leg pain or swelling, possible blood clots in your legs and lungs, skin discoloration, excessive varicose veins, or shortness of breath.
This is a non-invasive, painless procedure that should be done while you are standing. The entire exam should take 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete. No advance preparation is necessary, and there are no dietary restrictions before the exam. You should wear comfortable clothing if you can and stay as still as possible while your specialist completes the exam.
In an ultrasound exam, an ultrasound probe is moved over each area of your body as it is tested. The wand emits sound waves, and a connected computer determines how those sound waves reflect back, changing each sound wave into a picture.
During your venous reflux exam an ultrasound probe will be placed on your leg and directed over each vein to show whether your blood is flowing forward towards your heart or backward toward your feet. While you are standing, normal vein valves in your legs should close, which is why standing for venous reflux exam is the best and most accurate way to test for the backward leaking of your vein valves. If your veins are not tested while you are standing, your results might show leaking valves, when in reality these veins have not been activated by your position. This misinformation can lead to inaccurate results, over-diagnosis or unnecessary procedures.
It is also important that both superficial and deep veins are evaluated during your exam. A thorough exam will give your specialist a clear understanding of which veins are functioning normally and will also uncover a range of abnormalities that will give you and your doctor a map to create the optimal plan for treatment of your symptoms. Many facilities look exclusively at deep vein thrombosis and will not spend the time and effort required for a full examination. A complete venous reflux exam should take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete, so a 30-minute exam clearly cannot be enough time to complete a full assessment.
Once complete, your exam results will be sent to your doctor who can go over these results with you. Your doctor can explain what your results mean in relation to your symptoms and will work with you to determine the best future course of action.