A Doppler ultrasound is a test that can measure blood flow. It uses sound waves that bounce off blood cells.
Reasons for Test
Doppler ultrasound may be used to check blood flow to an area. It may also be needed to check for injuries to blood vessels or assess treatment. Common reasons for use include:
Look for cause of blood pooling in legs such as valve problems in your leg veins
Heart valve defects and congenital heart disease
Blockage in artery
Peripheral artery disease
Weakening of blood vessel walls called aneurysm
Narrowing of an artery, such as carotid artery stenosis
Check baby’s blood flow during a pregnancy
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 6 or more glasses of water without going to the bathroom.
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 device about the size of a bar of soap. The device is pushed against your skin where the gel was applied. The waves from device bounce off blood cells or tissue and echo back to device. The doctor can examines the images during the test. The images can also be saved for later review.
You may be asked to change positions or hold your breath during the exam.
General ultrasound. Radiology Info—Radiologic Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?PG=genus. Accessed January 26, 2021.
Ultrasound imaging. US Food & Drug Administration website. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/MedicalImaging/ucm115357.htm. Accessed January 26, 2021.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.