THERMOGRAPHY: FUNCTIONAL VS. STRUCTURAL IMAGING

Many people are familiar with structural imaging such as ultrasounds, X-rays and mammograms. However, they aren’t as familiar with the thermography option. Thermography is a totally non-invasive option for breast and body screenings. It has been FDA approved since 1984 and is used as an adjunct to mammography for breast screenings.  This rapidly developing technology is used to detect and locate thermal abnormalities characterized by an increase or decrease found at....

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THE SHERLOCK HOLMES OF HEALTHCARE: ULTRASOUNDS AND THERMOGRAPHY

Ultrasound imaging and thermography are important aspects in healthcare – they definitely cover more than babies. Many diagnoses and treatment plans stem from ultrasound and thermography procedures.  Ultrasounds are used to see internal body structures, such as tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels and internal organs to find the source of a disease. Ultrasound works by using sound waves with frequencies that are higher than those audible to humans.

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SLEEP APNEA CAN BE A SYMPTOM OF SOMETHING MORE SERIOUS

Patient Choice Ultrasound and Thermography is now offering home sleep study kits. You may be asking yourself why a diagnostic imaging center is introducing sleep testing. The human body is kind of like the old children’s rhyme: “The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone.” There’s more of a correlation than one may think.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF CHECKING OUT YOUR VASCULAR SYSTEM

Have you ever thought of your vascular health? My guess is probably not.


But you should, because the veins and arteries are the vital highways of our blood system. If they are not functioning properly, it could lead to major health concerns – possibly even death.


Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is any disease or disorder of the circulatory system outside of the brain and heart that affects blood vessels anywhere in the body. Blood vessels may become blocked, restricting the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. PVD is the most common disease of the arteries; about 8.5 million Americans have it. It’s usually caused by atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty material inside the vessels. This hardening of the arteries may affect the heart, leading to coronary artery disease. When any artery is blocked or narrowed, the part of the body it supplies doesn’t get enough oxygen. If the condition isn’t corrected and the body continues to be oxygen deprived, there can be significant damage, even tissue death. Clearly, it’s important to find narrowed arteries before such damage occurs. Lower-extremity arteries and the carotid arteries are common areas for disease. The frightening thing about PVD is that in up to 40 percent of cases, there are no symptoms.  

The most common cause of PVD is peripheral artery disease due to atherosclerosis. These factors can increase your risk for developing atherosclerosis:



When there are symptoms, the most common is pain in the calves, thighs or hips that usually occurs when walking or climbing stairs but stops when you’re at rest

(unless it’s very severe, in which case there’s pain at rest). There can also be a dull, cramping pain in these areas or a feeling of heaviness, tightness or tiredness in the leg muscles. Other symptoms can include buttock pain; numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs; burning or aching pain in the feet or toes while at rest; a sore on a leg or foot that will not heal; one or both legs or feet feeling cold or changing to a pale, bluish or dark reddish color; loss of hair on the legs or toes; and impotence.


Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of blood clots in the deep veins. Blood clots can form in veins when they are injured, if there is a disorder that causes blood clots or something slows the return of blood to the heart. DVTs are dangerous if the blood clot(s) break loose and travel throughout the body, especially to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism. Blood clots can form from injury to veins, inflammation, certain disorders, smoking, slow blood flow and even drugs that act like estrogen (this includes oral contraceptives). Healthy people who sit for prolonged periods can suffer DVT. Office workers, truck drivers, frequent flyers and inactive individuals are all at risk.


Like with PVD, about half of those with DVT have no symptoms. Often, chest pain or shortness of breath will be their first symptom. Sometimes a swollen leg, pain in one leg or a “feverish” leg is reason to see your physician immediately – and perhaps confirm the health of that extremity with an ultrasound exam. Remember, untreated, a DVT can be deadly.


Both PVD and DVT can be detected via ultrasound. A specific ultrasound scan called Doppler (yes, like the weather tracking system) can see the blood flow and health of blood vessels throughout the body. In fact, a Doppler ultrasound scan, often with a blood test, is the best way to confirm DVT since the injured/blocked veins are deep within the body. A venous Doppler ultrasound is often ordered because of current symptoms or as a follow-up exam. An arterial Doppler ultrasound can be ordered as a preventative screening, especially for those with any risk factors. We perform Doppler ultrasounds at Patient Choice Ultrasound (both studies require a physician’s order). We recommend you do not delay any concerns you may have when it comes to your vascular health.

KIM DAVIES, RDMS, RDCS, RVS

With 40 years in the field of ultrasound, Kim Davis, RDMS, RDCS, RVS, is the founder and CEO of PCU, 152 W. Tiverton Way in Lexington. PCU can be reached at 859-554-7360 or at www.patientchoiceultrasound.com.

more articles by Kim Davis