The gulfcoast ultrasound scanning tip of the day will demonstrate how to easily identify the vertebral artery and demonstrate flow direction using color flow Doppler. To identify the vertebral artery place the transducer on the longitudinal scan plane on the patients neck in the grove between the trachea and the sternocleidomastoid muscle. As you see on the screen we have a longitudinal view of the common carotid going to angle the sound beam back slightly posterior towards the patient’s cervical spine. The vertebral artery courses.
Between the transverse scram into the cervical spine and the vertebral vein lies anterior to the vertebral artery. If you’d like to follow the vertebral artery down to its origin just slowly slide the transducer towards the patients feet where you can see it will act at its origin with the subclavian artery. To evaluate flow direction place your color box over the vertebral artery and identify the color that has been assigned, we see that in this case the color box is pointed towards the patients head and flow is going away from.
The transducer which is color coded red as we see by the color box on the side of the monitor. To validate that flow is going in the appropriate direction angle the sound beam back towards the patients common carotid and reposition the color box without changing any other parameters and confirmed that the flow in the common carotid is the same color as that in the vertebral artery. This example is normal flow showing color as red in the common as well as in the vertebral artery. If the flow in the vertebral artery would.