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Disease Information : CVM : Diagnosis

CVM : Diagnosis

How is CVM Diagnosed?

Years ago, the only definitive way to evaluate blood vessel problems was by the injection of contrast dye in them that would make them visible on x-ray, called an angiogram. However, since most CVMs do not need treatment, or treatment is often delayed until the child grows up and the need for treatment is more obvious, it is now rarely necessary to get angiograms as a first step. They may ultimately be needed, but only when an intervention is required and even then are best obtained just before or at the time of such treatment.

Fortunately, great strides have been made in less invasive forms of vascular imaging. The localized superficial CVMs can often be initially studied by a form of ultrasound imaging called a color duplex scan. Larger mass lesions can best be studied by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which has the advantage of not only imaging the blood vessels involved by these malformations in multiple planes (view angles), but determining the anatomic extent of the malformation and importantly, whether its involvement of surrounding tissues (muscles, nerves, bones and joints) might preclude or complicate surgical treatment.