Ultrasound on computer

Doppler Ultrasound: When It Is Used and What to Expect

  • Posted on: Mar 28 2022
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A doppler ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging test that uses ultrasonic sound waves to create images of the body. Healthcare professionals use this technology to learn about a patient’s blood flow and look for blockages or other types of irregularities.

When Is a Doppler Ultrasound Ordered?

While a Doppler ultrasound can be used to assist with diagnosing many disorders. This test is often ordered if a patient shows one of the following conditions:

  • Shows signs of reduced blood flow
  • May have injuries to arteries, blood vessels, or veins
  • Shows signs of peripheral arterial disease
  • Has symptoms of a heart condition
  • Is receiving treatment for a blood flow disorder
  • Recently suffered a stroke and needs blood flow to the brain examined
  • Is pregnant and may have blood flow issues
  • May have vascular tumors in the legs
  • Shows signs of heart structure irregularities
  • Has symptoms of deep vein thrombosis

A Doppler ultrasound may also be ordered to confirm or rule out heart failure. An echocardiogram is a Doppler ultrasound test used to show how the blood moves through the valves and chambers within the heart. Various heart conditions can be characterized by shortness of breath, swelling in the legs or feet, and chronic fatigue. 

Blood clots in veins, injuries to blood vessels, and blockages of the arteries can all cause reduced blood flow. This medical condition is called peripheral arterial disease, symptoms of which can include:

  • Numbness or weakness in the legs
  • Cold feet or cold lower legs
  • Painful cramping in the hips or legs
  • Shiny skin on the legs
  • Changes in skin color

Peripheral edema (swelling in the legs or feet) and inflammation can signal blood flow issues as well. These two medical conditions could also be caused by factors other than blood flow problems, so a Doppler ultrasound may be ordered to investigate symptoms further.

What to Expect During a Doppler Ultrasound

There is no preparation needed for a Doppler ultrasound. However, the patient might have to remove jewelry or clothing in the area of focus. They will then lie on an examination bed for the procedure.

Ultrasound technicians may apply blood pressure cuffs around the thighs, ankles, upper arms, or calves to take readings in different parts of the body. Doing so can relay important information about blood flow and the heart during the procedure. 

A medical-grade lubricant is then applied to a handheld instrument called a transducer. This lubricant, or gel, is often warmed for the patient’s comfort. The transducer is then moved over the skin to create an image of the blood flow present in that area.

Usually, procedures for Doppler ultrasound last between 30 and 45 minutes. There is no recovery time from the procedure necessary.

Doppler Ultrasound Results

Results obtained from Doppler ultrasound tests help healthcare providers identify, diagnose, and treat health issues in arteries and veins. If images show normal results, issues such as narrowing of blood vessels or blockages are not likely to be present.

However, irregularities or abnormalities that are seen via Doppler ultrasound could indicate a variety of issues, a few of which might include:

  • Narrowing of a blood vessel
  • A blockage in an artery or vein
  • A blood clot
  • A coronary artery spasm
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Blood vessel injuries

Finding these issues early on can help prevent serious problems from developing.

Doppler ultrasound testing is painless and risk-free. Cardiovascular Wellness is committed to providing patients with the utmost professional, personal medical care. 

If you need to schedule a Doppler ultrasound in Hicksville, Lake Success, or the surrounding areas, count on Cardiovascular Wellness.

Posted in: Heart Disease

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