Background: Renal artery duplex ultrasonography (RA-DUS) is commonly used for the evaluation and follow-up of renal artery atherosclerotic disease. In a complete study, renal artery flow is evaluated from the vessel origin to the intraparenchymal branches. The quality of RA-DUS is in part technologist- dependent, but many factors may affect the ability to complete a diagnostic examination. This study evaluated the clinical and technical factors that predict the ability to obtain a complete RA-DUS examination. Methods: A prospective evaluation of all patients undergoing RA-DUS between July 2008 and February 2009 was performed. Factors such as patient age, gender, body mass index, technologists' years of experience, patient care setting (inpatient vs. outpatient), bedside examination, smoking before the examination, fasting status, and recent abdominal surgery were all recorded. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed. A p value of ≤0.05 was considered significant. Results: During the study period, 250 patients underwent RA-DUS (mean age: 59.9 ± 17.8 years, 57%  female). A total of 87 (35%) examinations were incomplete. This included nondiagnostic examinations which did not exhibit any segment of the renal artery. Factors that were associated with an incomplete examination included technologists' years of experience (OR = 0.92, p = 0.042), bedside examination (OR = 4.17, p = 0.016), and recent abdominal surgery (OR = 3.45, p = 0.047). Body mass index, fasting status, and smoking before the examination did not affect the ability to obtain a complete study. Conclusions: One-third of the RA-DUS studies were classified as incomplete by the strict criteria used in this prospective study. An experienced ultrasound technologist is more likely to obtain a complete RA-DUS examination. Recent abdominal surgery and bedside examinations were predictive of a limited examination as well. Vascular laboratories should consider these factors when scheduling examinations so as to obtain complete RA-DUS studies, as well as improve the cost-effectiveness of resource utilization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine