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Ultrasound (General and Vascular)

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What is an ultrasound?

Your doctor has suggested you have one or more general ultrasound studies as part of your evaluation at National Jewish Health. Ultrasound (sound waves) can be used to look at organs, soft tissue, and blood vessels within the body. The ultrasound shows the structures and blood flow through organs and blood vessels. It does this by using sound waves.


How do you get ready for the test?

 Please arrive 30 minutes before the test is scheduled. The nurse or sonographer will ask you questions before the ultrasound.

DO NOT eat or drink anything for 6 hours before your scheduled testing time if you are having the following:

  • Abdominal Ultrasound
  • Abdominal Aorta Ultrasound
  • Hepatic (Liver) Ultrasound
  • Gallbladder Ultrasound
  • Spleen Ultrasound
  • Renal Artery Doppler
  • Renal (Kidney) Ultrasound

If you are having a Renal (Kidney) Ultrasound, drink 16 to 24 oz. of water 30 minutes before your scheduled test time

 There is no preparation for the following ultrasound tests:

  • Carotid Artery Duplex Ultrasound
  • Thyroid Ultrasound
  • Chest Ultrasound
  • Atrial Duplex Ultrasounds of the arms or legs
  • Venous Duplex Ultrasound of the arms or legs  

What is done during the test?

The sonographer will explain the test to you before you start. Ask questions if you don't understand. Before the test you will need to remove all clothing and jewelry from the area of the body where the test will be performed. You will be given a hospital gown to wear. The ultrasound does not hurt. You will lie still on a table during the procedure. The sonographer may have you sit, stand, lie on your side or on your back during the procedure. Gel will be placed on your skin and on a probe. The probe is what makes the sound waves. The probe will be moved over the area being tested.


What should you do after the test?

You can resume your normal activity after the test is complete.


How long will the test take?

An ultrasound will take about 1 hour. 


How do you get to your test?

Your appointment is in the Institute for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (Radiology). You will be directed where to go when you check-in. If you have any questions you can contact Advanced Biomedical Imaging (Radiology) at 303.398.1611.

This information has been approved by Will Cook, ARRT, MA and Eric Yager, ARRT, BS (February 2012).