A Doppler ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to measure the amount of blood flow through your arteries and veins. We offer the most advanced diagnostic tools available anywhere, including the Doppler ultrasound.
A Doppler ultrasound provides your doctor with important information about the flow of blood through your major arteries and veins. It can also reveal blocked or reduced blood flow through narrowed areas in the arteries, which could eventually lead to a stroke.
Indications for Doppler ultrasound
The Doppler ultrasound exam may be ordered if you show signs of:
- Deep vein thrombosis, a condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside your body (usually in the leg or hip regions)
- Superficial thrombophlebitis, an inflammation of the veins due to a blood clot in a vein just below the skin's surface
- Arteriosclerosis, a narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet
- Thromboangiitis obliterans, a rare disease in which the blood vessels of the hands and feet become inflamed and swollen
- Vascular tumors in your arms or legs
What happens during a Doppler ultrasound?
A Doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive, painless procedure that does not expose you to harmful radiation. There are no risks associated with this test, and most people feel little to no discomfort during the procedure.
For the procedure, you’ll be asked to lie down on an examination table. The technician will place a water-soluble gel on a handheld device called a transducer to examine your body. The transducer directs high-frequency sound waves into the arteries or veins being studied. The sound waves are then sent to a computer to produce images or graphs.
To examine your arteries, blood pressure cuffs may be placed around various areas of your body. The cuffs may be applied to your thigh, calf, ankle, or various points along your arm. They help compare the blood pressure in different parts of your body.
It usually takes about 30-45 minutes to perform a Doppler ultrasound. You may resume your usual activities following the exam, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Preparing for a Doppler ultrasound
In general, there is no preparation required for this exam. However, if you’re a smoker, your doctor may ask you to stop smoking for several hours before the test. Smoking causes your blood vessels to narrow, which can affect the results of your test.
You will need to remove clothing, jewelry, and any other objects in the area that will be studied. However, there’s no need to remove your glasses, contact lenses, dentures or hearing aids. You may be asked to wear a gown.