A thoracic outlet evaluation is used to detect compression of the blood vessels in the thoracic outlet, located in the shoulder region. Compression of the artery, vein or nerve that travel through the thoracic outlet can cause pain, numbness, weakness and swelling in the arm and/or hand, and can also increase the risk of blood clot or aneurysm.
The exam consists of an ultrasound to evaluate the arteries and veins in your shoulder region as well as a test that evaluates the arterial pulse in your finger while your arm is in different positions. Ultrasound images are acquired using a hand held probe (transducer) that is applied to the neck and shoulder.
This test is used to:
Yes. Eat and drink as you normally would the day of the test (unless you are also scheduled that day for an ultrasound exam that requires fasting).
Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor.
You may feel discomfort in your arms while they are held in different positions during this test. You should feel no significant discomfort during the ultrasound exam.
This exam usually takes about 45 minutes, depending on many variables. After the test, you may go home or go to your other scheduled appointments.
After a vascular surgeon has interpreted your exam, the results will be sent to your referring physician and/or the vascular surgeon will go over the results with you during a follow-up appointment.