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Doppler Ultrasound

Doppler ultrasound uses harmless sound waves to evaluate and create pictures of blood flow inside your blood vessels. This test can detect narrow or blocked arteries and veins due to an abnormality pressing on them or blood clots inside.

Woman lying on table with one leg exposed. Health care provider is holding probe against skin of leg. Probe is attached to ultrasound machine and monitor.
You may feel pressure during the test. You may also hear a "whooshing" noise, which is the sound of your blood flowing.

How to I get ready for an ultrasound?

The test takes 30 to 60 minutes. Allow time to check in. When you arrive, you may be asked to undress from the waist down or to change into a gown. The person who performs the ultrasound is called a sonographer.

Tell the sonographer

Tell your sonographer if:

  • You’ve had a stroke

  • You’ve had symptoms, such as short-term loss of strength, problems with speech, vision, or pain or swelling in your arms or legs

What happens during an ultrasound? 

The ultrasound may be done on your neck, abdomen, leg or arm, depending on the area of your problem.

If the test is done on your neck

  • You will lie on an exam table.

  • Your head will be turned to the side.

  • Nongreasy gel will be applied to your neck.

  • The sonographer will then press a hand-held transducer (probe) against your neck.

If the test is done on your abdomen, leg or arm

  • Nongreasy gel will be applied to the skin over the area to be examined.

  • The probe will be pressed against the skin over the gel.

 

Although the sonographer can answer questions about the test, only a doctor can explain the results. 

 

Your test results

Before leaving, you may need to wait briefly while your images are being reviewed. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.

Your next appointment is:____________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Grossman, Neil, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/29/2015
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