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Doppler Ultrasound

Definition

A doppler ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to examine parts of the body. It looks at the motion of fluids in the blood vessels.

Reasons for Test

Doppler ultrasound is used to:

  • View the flow of blood through vessels and/or the heart
  • View and evaluate blockages to blood flow, such as clots
  • Assess build-up of plaque inside a vessel
  • Monitor blood flow through repaired blood vessels such as bypass grafts
  • Examine a baby during a pregnancy

Possible Complications

In most cases, there are no complications with this test.

What to Expect

Prior to Test
Your doctor may do the following:

  • A physical exam
  • Blood or urine tests

In some cases your doctor may instruct you to:

  • Fast for 8 to 12 hours before the test. This will decrease the amount of gas in your intestines and make organs easier to see.
  • Have a full bladder before the test. You may need to drink six or more glasses of water without going to the bathroom.
  • Avoid smoking . Smoking can interfere with test results.

Description of the Test
You will lie on a table. Your doctor will put a gel on the skin over the area that will be examined. The gel helps the sound waves travel between the machine and your body.The ultrasound machine has a hand-held instrument called a transducer. It looks like a microphone or wand. The transducer is pushed against your skin where the gel was applied. The transducer sends sound waves into your body. The waves bounce off your internal organs and echo back to the transducer. The echoes are changed into images that are shown on a screen. The doctor examines the images on the screen. Photographs of the images may be taken. You may be asked to change positions or hold your breath during the exam.

After the Test
The gel will be cleaned from your body. You will be able to return to normal activities in most cases.

How Long Will It Take?
The test take about 30 to 60 minutes.

Will It Hurt?
No

Results
A radiologist will examine the images after the test. Your doctor will let you know the results and talk to you about treatment.

Call Your Doctor

After the test, call your doctor if symptoms become worse. In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.


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Contact Us

Center for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
St. Elizabeth's Medical Center
736 Cambridge Street
Brighton, MA 02135
617-779-6504

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