A Doppler study uses ultrasound to estimate the blood flow through your blood vessels by bouncing high-frequency sound waves off circulating red blood cells. A regular ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images, but doesn’t show blood flow. A Doppler ultrasound can estimate how fast your blood flows by measuring the rate of change in the pitch (frequency) of your blood.
At TrustCare, we perform three specific kinds of Doppler studies:
- Carotid: Examines the blood flow of the carotid arteries in your neck, which may become narrowed by a buildup of plaque.
- Arterial: Examines the blood flow out of your heart and through your body.
- Venous: Examines the flow of blood through your veins as it returns to your heart, particularly your upper and lower extremities (arms and legs).
How Should I Prepare the Day Before the Procedure?
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may need to remove clothing and jewelry for the areas to be examined, and you may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.
Fasting is necessary only if you are to have an examination of veins in your abdomen.
What Happens on the Day of the Procedure?
A technician trained in ultrasound imaging (sonographer) will apply gel to the specific areas to be tested (neck, chest, abdomen, arms, or legs). The gel helps the ultrasound waves transmit back and forth. Then they will press a small hand-held device (transducer) against your skin over the area being examined, moving from one area to another as necessary. A computer translates the echoed sound waves into a live-action image on a monitor.
When Will I Get My Results?
A radiologist (a doctor who specializes in imaging tests) may discuss the results with you at your appointment. They will review your test results, then prepare a detailed report for the doctor who ordered the test, who may request a follow-up appointment.