Non-Invasive Abdominal Vascular Evaluation: Abdominal & Pelvic Venous Duplex for Inferior Vena Cava (IVC), Iliac Vein Thrombosis, or Stenosis
What is iliac vein thrombosis/stenosis (IVC)?
The IVC is formed by the joining of the left and right common iliac veins and returns blood to the right atrium of the heart. Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in the veins. A blood clot (thrombus) in the leg or pelvic veins is not immediately life-threatening in all cases, however, it may become life-threatening if a piece of the blood clot breaks off and travels to the heart and into the lungs, called a pulmonary embolism. Diagnosis and treatment of lower extremity or pelvic vein thrombosis is imperative to prevent this outcome.
What are the symptoms of IVC, and what are the indications that an abdominal/pelvic vascular evaluation is needed?
- Lower extremity edema despite a normal lower extremity venous duplex scan for thrombosis
- Pelvic varicosities including vaginal or scrotal varicose veins
- Pelvic venous congestion syndrome – a medical condition in women caused by leaking veins and varicose veins in the lower pelvis and abdomen.
- May Thurner Syndrome – (MTS) is caused when the left iliac vein is compressed by the right iliac artery, which increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the lower left extremity. DVT is a blood clot that may partially or completely block the return of blood flow through the vein.
What can I expect during the exam?
A complete examination of the IVC and iliac veins takes approximately 30 – 45 minutes. It is performed in a private room, with the patient supine on an exam table. Images of the vasculature of the pelvis will be taken using the ultrasound equipment. A transducer is placed on the skin with a small amount of water soluble ultrasound gel and ultrasonic sound waves are transmitted with the ultrasound probe, which are then analyzed by the ultrasound computer, creating a very accurate image of the vessels inside.
- Allow 30 to 45 minutes for the abdominal duplex examination.
- No smoking for 1 hour prior to the exam, as it can create a constriction of your arteries and increase abdominal gas.
- Fast for at least 8 hours before the exam, to limit any excess bowel gas that may otherwise restrict the physician’s view.
- Wear loose, comfortable two-piece clothing that allows access to the abdominal area.
- Unless otherwise specified, take your usual medications with a small amount of water.
- We typically schedule this exam as an early morning appointment.
Please call us with any questions or to schedule an appointment for Fort Myers venous duplex exams: (239) 694-8346