Vascular studies unit

Surgery

Appointments

An appointment for a vascular ultrasound scan can be requested for inpatients and outpatients by clinicians at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

We do not accept self-referrals or direct GP referrals. All referrals must come from hospital clinicians.

GPs should refer patients with suspected vascular disease to the vascular outpatients department to see one of the vascular consultants in clinic.

We do not provide the deep vein thrombosis (DVT) service for the trust. Patients who are worried about this should first contact their GP who can refer them directly to the thrombosis treatment team for DVT assessment. If you are unable to see your GP for any reason you can go to your nearest emergency department.

Please see the thrombosis treatment team webpage for more information.

Cancelling or rearranging an appointment

  • If you need to cancel or rearrange an appointment for any reason please call us on 01223 348117.
  • If you have had diarrhoea and vomiting or flu please do not attend the hospital until you are 48 hours symptom free.
  • Please give us as much notice as possible as we may be able to offer somebody else your appointment slot.

Bed with ultrasound machine Vascular studies ultrasound
Bed with ultrasound machine Vascular studies ultrasound

What to expect at my appointment

When you arrive in the department, please check in at reception. There are often other clinics being performed so you may not be called in order of arrival.

A clinical vascular scientist will perform and interpret your ultrasound scan. You may bring a friend or relative in to your test, or request a chaperone if you would like one.

The clinical vascular scientist will show you around to one of the scanning rooms. They will perform and interpret your ultrasound scan.

You may need to remove some clothing so that the scientist can scan the region of interest. The lights will be dimmed to allow the best ultrasound images to be obtained.

The scan will be performed with you lying down or sat on the couch. If we have been asked to scan your veins, we may ask you to stand for part of the scan if you can. Gel is applied to the part of the body to be scanned. The probe will be moved across the region of the body to be scanned. During the test, you may hear some “swooshing” noises from the ultrasound machine. These sounds are normal.

How long does it take?

We advise patients that most tests can take up to 1 hour. Some can take longer, but approximate timings will be given in your appointment letter.

What happens next?

The Clinical Vascular Scientist can comment briefly on the findings and will write a report for the consultant who requested the test. You will be able to fully discuss the results of this investigation with the referring team at your next outpatient appointment.

In rare cases, the Clinical Vascular Scientist may need to discuss the result with a doctor before you leave.

What is an ultrasound scan?

A vascular ultrasound scan may also be called a “duplex” or a “Doppler”. This test uses ultrasound to produce images of blood vessels throughout the body. It is a safe and effective way to assess the blood flow in the arteries or veins.

The test is painless and does not use any radiation or needles. There are no risks associated with ultrasound.

Vascular studies ultrasound scan Vascular studies ultrasound scan
Vascular studies ultrasound scan Vascular studies ultrasound scan

Is there any preparation required for the test?

There is usually no preparation needed for an ultrasound scan.

If we have been asked to scan your abdomen, it is helpful if you are able to only eat a light meal prior to your appointment. This will help remove any excess bowel gas and can improve the test results.  You can drink fluids as normal. If a medical condition requires you to eat regularly please do not restrict your food intake – it will still be possible to perform the scan.

What we do

The Vascular Studies Unit is an essential part of the Vascular Surgery team. The team perform non-invasive ultrasound investigations to diagnose and monitor diseases of the arteries and the veins.

The department consists of 4 scanning rooms and separate inpatient and outpatient waiting areas.

We perform the following investigations on inpatients, outpatients, and in consultant and nurse led one-stop clinics.

Arterial Investigations

These investigations are requested to diagnose and monitor arterial disease. The arteries carry blood away from the heart to supply the extremities.

  • Ankle brachial pressure indices (ABPIs)
  • Lower limb arterial treadmill test
  • Toe Pressures
  • Carotid duplex scan
  • Lower limb arterial duplex scan
  • Peripheral bypass graft surveillance
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) scan
  • Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) surveillance
  • Upper limb arterial duplex scan
  • Thoracic outlet investigation
  • Cold intolerance test (Raynaud's)

Venous Investigations

These investigations are requested to diagnose and monitor venous disease. The veins carry blood from the extremities back to the heart and they have valves to help control flow in the right direction. If the veins are not working properly, the ultrasound scan can map out the problem veins enabling the consultant to plan your treatment.

  • Lower limb venous insufficiency duplex scan

Other

  • Vein mapping for arterial bypass surgery
  • Haemodialysis access fistula (HAF) surveillance
  • Pathway into the Vascular Studies Unit

Meet the team

All of the Clinical Vascular Scientists are either accredited by the Society of Vascular Technology of Great Britain and Ireland, or working towards accreditation.

The team are proactive at continuing professional development to ensure that we always provide a high standard of care to our patients. This includes teaching, attending vascular conferences, and sitting on professional committees.

Robert Elliott
Lead Clinical Vascular Scientist

Matthew Slater
Clinical Vascular Scientist

Charlotte Taylor
Clinical Vascular Scientist

Laura Scott
Clinical Vascular Scientist

Ryan Ward
Clinical Vascular Scientist

Alex Pason
Clinical Vascular Scientist

Isy Softley
Clinical Vascular Scientist

Emily Alderson
Clinical Vascular Scientist

Jo Denton
Clinical Vascular Scientist

Further information and useful links

Non-urgent advice: Vascular studies - careers

A career as a Clinical Vascular Scientist is a fantastic opportunity to combine a scientific approach with patient care.

For more information about how to begin your career, click here.