A Doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive test that can be used to estimate the blood flow through your blood vessels by bouncing high frequency waves off circulating red blood cells. A regular ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images, but cannot show blood flow.
There are various types of Doppler ultrasound
A color Doppler visualizes the movement, speed, and direction of blood flow.
A duplex Doppler takes a standard image of a blood vessel and graphs the data.
A power Doppler is a new form of color Doppler that provides more detail, but it cannot show in which direction blood is flowing.
A spectral Doppler shows blood flow as graphed data, and it can show whether the blood flow is blocked.
A continuous wave will show a stream of soundwaves, which allows the ultrasound to more accurately measure blood moving at a faster speed.
A Doppler ultrasound may help diagnose
Poorly functioning valves in your leg veins, which can cause blood or other fluids to pool in your legs.
Heart valve defects and congenital heart disease.
A blocked artery
Decreased blood circulation into your legs
Narrowing of an artery
Why does a person need a Doppler ultrasound?
Your doctor may ask you to get a Doppler ultrasound if you show signs of reduced blood flow in the arms, legs and neck.
How to prepare for the Doppler ultrasound?
There is no preparation required but if the person smokes, the doctor may ask you to refrain from smoking for a few hours prior to the procedure. Smoking can narrow blood vessels, which can skew the readings.
Technician may apply blood pressure cuffs around areas such as the calves, ankles, or things to measure the pressure in different part of the arms and legs.
This procedure takes 30-45 minutes and a person can leave immediately after it is done.
Is there any risk involved?
Doppler ultrasound is painless, noninvasive and risk free procedure. A patient may need to remove jewelry from the body.