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Top Factors Influencing Vascular Ultrasound Imaging

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The application of ultrasound technology in the medical field is synonymous with tracking fetus development in the womb during pregnancy. However, it is not the only way medical practitioners use ultrasound technology. Vascular ultrasounds, in particular, are designed to diagnose problems within the body's vascular system. For instance, vascular ultrasound helps monitor blood flow in veins and arteries and detect constraints in the form of blockages along the vessels. However, accuracy in vascular ultrasound application hinges on image clarity; defective images can lead to misdiagnoses and possible complications. This article highlights the top factors influencing vascular ultrasound image quality.

Calcifications in Vessels — During vascular ultrasound procedures, a sonographer must ensure that sound beams penetrate blood vessels. If any obstructions are present, ultrasound beams give distorted images, which is what happens if there are calcifications in the vessels. For instance, arteriosclerosis is a condition where lipids or plaque deposit throughout the insides of blood vessels. Over time, the deposits calcify and harden along the blood vessels. During a vascular ultrasound procedure, the calcifications obstruct the ultrasound beam; hence, distorting images. Thus, a sonographer becomes uncertain whether the image they see indicates a pathologic processor or not.

Vascular Ultrasound Gain — Gain refers to screen brightness levels in an ultrasound machine. Notably, the brightness on most vascular ultrasound machines can be adjusted manually using gain or time-gain compensation (TGC) buttons. Therefore, a sonographer must find the sweet spot when adjusting screen brightness on a vascular ultrasound machine. The reason is that excessive or inadequate gain tends to blur tissue boundaries, hence losing information. It usually happens when an ultrasound session is rushed. Thus, sonographers must take time and get a machine's screen brightness right before sending the final image for analysis. It is easy to get clear pictures with the correct pre-set brightness settings.

Numerous Focal Points — Modern ultrasound machines allow sonographers to adjust the position and number of focal points. It is advantageous, especially when examining a large area of the blood vessel in question. However, having too many focal points under a scanner tends to interfere with image quality because an ultrasound machine works extra hard to make each focal point clear. Consequently, it reduces a device's frame rate, affecting image quality. Notably, limiting the focal points to just one increases visibility and image clarity. Most importantly, it aids in the accurate interpretation and analysis of vascular ultrasound image results.