Rheography Diagnostics Explained
Rheography is a diagnostic method during which blood flow is investigated in specific organs and tissues, as well as throughout the body as a whole. The bottom line of rheography is graphic recording using a special device, rheograph, that changes the electrical conductivity of the body caused by the pulse fluctuations of blood flow.
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Among all the structures of the body blood has the highest electrical conductivity. This means that during systolic contraction of the heart when the blood flows into nearby bodies of these parts of the body conductivity is high, and in case of the heart muscle relaxation (diastole) the result is the opposite. Based on the testimony rheograph output curve of pulse oscillation, called rheogram.
Rheography is a non-invasive method absolutely harmless to the body. Indeed, no interference is needed to conduct its work perfectly. The electric current is so characterized by such a tiny small magnitude and frequency, that is just not able to do any significant damage to the skin. Harmlessness is not the only advantage rheography - the method boasts impressive sensitivity. Rheography can evaluate the general condition of the blood supply and figure out blood disorders in a separate organ, whether it be the brain, kidney, or liver, and whole body.
How rheograph works?
A basic rheograph is a power generator and a nozzle for the transfer of the measurements in graphical form. Rheogram makes records using metal electrodes applied to targeted areas of the body. Prior to the procedure between the electrode and the surface of the patient's body tissue a pad is placed impregnated with a solution of sodium chloride (to improve the contact), and the skin itself is wiped with an alcohol solution to remove the fatty film.
What can be seen on rheogram?
Rheogram looks like a sinusoid with steeper rises characterizing arterial blood flow and smooth descent, which, in turn, is a reflection of the venous circulation. To analyze the state of blood flow thoroughly during rheography it is necessary to remove a lot of these curves. Experienced diagnostician pays attention to the regularity of the curve (the similarities between several curves) and its shape, presence and amount of additional curves in the descending phase. Thus, for example, arrhythmias and vascular dystonia adjacent curves are different in shape.
Apart from external characteristics of curves, the doctor decides a few math problems: special formulas calculated to get a rheographic index to judge the presence of pathology, and several other parameters (amplitude-frequency rate, the rate of venous outflow, etc.).
Central rheography: the heart function under a magnifying glass
Central rheography is a blood flow study in the pulmonary artery and the aorta - a perfect method to evaluate the performance of your heart. By studying blood filling the lung and right ventricles the doctor can learn more on the state of the contractile function of the heart. When conducting central rheography rheograms the following conditions depending on the state of blood flow into the heart and lungs can be found:
- hypervolemic (increased volume of blood flow). The rheogram reflects higher peaked curve with a steep downward part;
- hypovolemic (reduced blood volume). The height of the curve decreases, its ascending part appears ‘serifs’ peak - flat, descending part becomes flatter;
- hypertonic (higher pressure in the vessels of the lungs). The curve has a steep climb, a round top and a gentle descent.
Vessels rheography can help to evaluate blood flow in the blood vessels in the periphery - in the extremities. The main targets are shoulder forearm, hands (upper limbs), femur, tibia and feet (lower limbs). To examine the blood flow at any particular section (arm, leg, etc.), one electrode is applied at the beginning of this section, and the other, respectively - in the end thereof. For example, if we talk about the shin, then these points will be the area of the ankle and the popliteal fossa.
The waves at a normal rheogram have a steep ascending part, round crown and gentle slope with possible additional waves. With rheography vessels diagram the doctor can, for example, make such a diagnosis as occlusive disease: a chronic disease that affects the arteries of legs and feet.
Thus, if there are prerequisites or suspected problems with peripheral vascular disease (loss of tone, elasticity, narrowing or even failures), then vessels rheography can give the desired answers to urgent questions.
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