RVS Exam Preparation

The RVS examination is designed to assess knowledge and skills to current practice. CCI provides an overview of the examination content including a knowledge and task list. Preparation for CCI examinations can be overwhelming and there are several options that can assist you in your preparation.

The RVS examination is a three-hour, multiple choice exam that contains 170 questions (150 scored and 20 unscored), that contains a mix of traditional and innovative item types. 

1.  Traditional multiple choice – Only one of four possible answers is correct (e.g. A, B, C or D).
2.  Innovative multiple response – Two or three answers are correct from a list of four to six possible answers.  The test taker will be instructed to select a certain number of correct answers (e.g. “Select two correct responses.”)
3.  Innovative hot spot – The test taker will be instructed to click on one specific area of an image to answer the question.  Only one answer (click) is necessary, but it must be in the correct location.
4.  Innovative drag and place – The test taker will be instructed to drag a collection of labels (tokens) into specific boxes or areas on an image.  The correct tokens will need to be placed in the correct boxes in order to get the question right. It’s possible that all tokens may not be used.

The 20 unscored questions are not identified and are randomly distributed throughout the exam to gather performance data. A candidate’s exam score is based on the responses to the 150 scored questions. Two hours and fifty (50) minutes are allotted for answering the exam questions and ten (10) minutes are allotted for a pre-exam tutorial and post-exam survey.

The examination content is based on the findings of a Job Task Analysis (JTA), which describes the overall tasks that an RVS is expected to perform on the job and general areas of knowledge that are needed to perform the tasks.  A JTA is performed every 5 years for all nine of the examinations that CCI offers in order to keep exams relevant to current practices in the field.  Examination content was developed by subject matter experts in the cardiovascular profession and ongoing statistical analyses provided by testing professionals with a doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Examination Matrix and Task List: The tasks listed below describe the activities that a vascular specialist is expected perform on the job. All examination questions are linked to these tasks. The listing also illustrates relative weight or emphasis given to the main content areas on the examination.

Knowledge List

  • Regulatory and compliance standards
  • Medical ethics
  • Medical terminology
  • General anatomy
  • Cardiovascular anatomy and physiology
  • Vascular hemodynamics
  • Disease process and progression
  • Basic math skills (formulas, exponents, decimals, scientific notation)
  • Basic statistics
  • Basic pharmacology
  • History and physical
    • Vascular signs and symptoms
    • Risk factors (family history, genetics)
  • Patient care and assessment
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Safety practices for patients and staff
  • Universal precautions/infection control
  • Specific policies and procedures (e.g., department, hospital)
  • Ultrasound physics
    • Ultrasound instrumentation
    • Ultrasound modalities (e.g., Doppler, color Doppler, B-mode, contrast)
  • Vascular anomalies and normal variances
  • Vascular nonsurgical interventions (e.g., medications, risk factor modification)
  • Vascular surgical interventions (current and past)
  • Imaging modalities (e.g., CT, MR)
  • Exam correlation with other imaging modalities

Duties and Tasks Approx. % of Exam
A. Maintaining Patient Care and Safety 9%
  1. Identify patient and explain procedure
  2. Verify appropriateness of examination and recognize contraindications
  3. Elicit patient history and risk factors
  4. Prepare room and patient for examination
  5. Identify and document critical findings
  6. Use standard, universal precautions and sterile techniques
  7. Maintain ergonomic safety
  8. Evaluate quality assurance and improvement
  9. Practice bioeffect safety and maintain equipment
B. Applying Principles of Physics and Hemodynamics 15%
  1. Set‐up examination equipment (e.g., transducer selection, examination pre‐sets)
  2. Obtain optimal gray scale image
  3. Apply hemodynamic principles
  4. Optimize pulse wave (PW) Doppler data
  5. Optimize continuous wave (CW) Doppler data
  6. Optimize color Doppler data
  7. Detect artifacts
C. Performing Abdominal/Visceral Examinations 11%
  1. Perform renal duplex
  2. Perform mesenteric duplex
  3. Perform abdominal aortoiliac duplex (including endovascular repair)
  4. Perform iliocaval duplex (including venous stents)
D. Performing Extracranial/Intracranial Examinations 20%
  1. Perform extracranial duplex
  2. Perform transcranial Doppler (imaging and nonimaging)
  3. Perform extracranial post intervention duplex
E. Performing Arterial Examinations of the Upper and Lower Extremities 21%
  1. Perform extremity arterial duplex
  2. Perform post‐intervention assessment (e.g., bypass grafts, stents)
  3. Perform segmental pressures and/or ankle‐brachial indices (ABI)
  4. Perform pulse volume recording (PVR)
  5. Perform exercise testing
  6. Perform specialty physiologic testing (e.g., Allen's test, cold sensitivity, thoracic outlet)
  7. Assess for post‐procedure arterial complications (i.e., pseudoaneurysm, arteriovenous fistula (AVF), hematoma)
F. Performing Venous Examinations of the Upper and Lower Extremities 20%
  1. Perform extremity venous duplex
  2. Perform lower extremity venous insufficiency testing
  3. Perform vein mapping
  4. Perform peri‐procedural (e.g., ablation, PICC) venous assessment
G. Performing Hemodialysis Examinations 3%
  1. Perform hemodialysis access examination
TOTAL 100%


The textbooks listed below are intended as recommended resources when preparing for examination. You may have previous or later editions of these or other references available that also present acceptable coverage of the subject matter. Any general text in vascular or venous techniques and evaluation, and patient care and management may be used. It is not necessary to use all of the texts identified. They are provided as suggestions only. CCI does not endorse or recommend any third-party review course or material.

  1. Daigle, Robert J. Techniques in Noninvasive Vascular Diagnosis: an Encyclopedia of Vascular Testing. 4th ed. Littleton, CO: Summer Pub., 2014.
  2. Edelman, Sidney K.. Understanding Ultrasound Physics. 4th ed. 2012.
  3. Kremkau, Frederick W., and Flemming Forsberg. Sonography Principles and Instruments. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier/Saunders, 2016.
  4. Rumwell, Claudia, and Michalene McPharlin. Vascular technology: an Illustrated Review. 5th ed. Pasadena, Calif.: Davies Pub., 2017.
  5. Thrush, Abigail, and Timothy Hartshorne. Vascular ultrasound: how, why, and when. 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2010.
  6. Size, Gail P, Lozanski, Laurie, Russo, Troy. Inside Ultrasound Vascular Reference Guide, Inside Ultrasound, Inc.

Self-Assessment Practice Examination
Click here to order Self-Assessment Practice Exams

CCI has prepared the online self-assessment exams to help exam candidates gauge their knowledge of the content areas on the exam and determine in which areas they may have strengths and weaknesses. The self-assessment exam contains sample items covering the approximate proportion of subject matter to match the CCI exam matrix. These items serve as a sample representation of the type of questions you can expect to see on the actual exam. 

CCI’s self-assessment exams do not provide a report of the missed items or specific information or feedback on incorrect responses for why a particular answer is correct or incorrect. Once a candidate completes the self-assessment, they receive a performance profile, which displays the percentage of correct responses in the content areas that make up the examination content. 

It is important to note that the results of the self-assessment exam do not guarantee or indicate individual success on the CCI exam, nor should the self-assessment serve as the only means for preparing for the CCI examination.