Doppler ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to create images and sounds of your blood flow. This test can detect narrow or blocked arteries, or blood clots in the veins. It can be done on the neck, legs, or arms. A handheld probe placed against the skin emits sound waves. The sound waves bounce off the moving blood and echo back to the probe. The echo is translated into an image that appears on a screen. This test involves no radiation and is harmless.
Before Your Test
Getting ready for this test requires little effort. You may be asked to undress from the waist down, keeping your underwear on. You will be asked to change into a gown. This test takes about 1 hour.
Tell the sonographer if you have had a stroke, symptoms such as short- term loss of strength, speech, or vision. You may be asked about your health. Your answers will help the sonographer tailor the test to your health needs.
During Your Test
You will lie down on an exam table. If the test is done on your neck, your head will be turned to the side, as if you were looking over your shoulder. Non-greasy gel will be applied to your neck. The sonographer will then press a handheld transducer (probe) against your neck. If the test is done on your leg, gel will be applied to your thigh. The probe will be pressed against this area.
The gel may feel wet, but don't worry, it won't harm your skin or clothes.
You may feel pressure. If the test is painful, let the sonographer know.
During the Doppler Ultrasound, you may hear a "swooshing" noise. This is the sound of your blood flowing. You may also see tracings of your blood flow on a screen. The sonographer can answer your questions about the test, but only a doctor can explain the results.
Let the Sonographer know if you have had:
- A Stroke
- Short term loss of strength
After Your Test
Before leaving, you may need to wait briefly while the images are being reviewed. You can get back to your normal routine right after the test. Your doctor will let you know when the results are ready.