Doppler Ultrasound Imaging – An Overview

Doppler Ultrasound Imaging – An Overview

In recent years, ultrasound flow imaging technologies have advanced rapidly. Doppler Ultrasound is an innovative diagnostic ultrasound imaging technology that offers physicians a unique way to view what is going on inside your body without X-rays or injections. It gives quick test results and doesn’t cause any side effects.

Doppler ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive technique that uses high frequency sound waves to measure or estimate the amount of blood flow through your arteries and veins (usually those that supply blood to your arms and legs). A regular ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images, but can’t show blood flow. If you are planning to undergo Doppler imaging in Queens, NY area, make sure to approach a reputable and certified imaging center that utilizes the latest technology to produce high-quality images.

There are different types of Doppler ultrasound such as pulsed Doppler, color Doppler and power Doppler. This diagnostic ultrasound imaging technique may help diagnose several conditions such as –

  • Blood clots
  • A blocked artery (arterial occlusion)
  • Heart valve defects and congenital heart disease
  • Poorly functioning valves in your leg veins, which can cause blood or other fluids to pool in your legs (venous insufficiency)
  • Narrowing of an artery, such as in your neck (carotid artery stenosis)
  • Decreased blood circulation into your legs (peripheral artery disease)
  • Bulging arteries (aneurysms)

Why do I need a Doppler Ultrasound?

Doppler ultrasound may be suggested by physicians if patients show signs of decreased blood flow in the arteries or veins of the legs, arms, or neck. In most cases, a low blood flow may be due to a blockage in the artery, a blood clot inside a blood vessel or an injury to a blood vessel. This test may be conducted as an alternative to more invasive procedures, such as angiography, which involves injecting dye into the blood vessels so that they show up clearly on X-ray images.

Generally, physicians may conduct this ultrasound imaging if patients exhibit any of the following signs and symptoms such as –

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – when a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside your body
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis – an inflammation of the veins due to a blood clot in a vein
  • Arteriosclerosis – narrowing and hardening of the arteries
  • Vascular tumors in the arms or legs
  • Thromboangiitis obliterans – inflammation of the blood vessels of the hands and fingers

What the Procedure Involves

A Doppler ultrasound can estimate how fast blood flows by correctly measuring the rate of change in its pitch (frequency). A special gel is rubbed on the part of the body being tested to improve sound quality. As part of the procedure, a technician or sonographer presses a small handheld device – transducer (that transmits sound waves) against your skin over the area of your body being examined, (moving from one area to another as necessary) while images of the blood vessels are recorded. The whole test takes about 30 minutes.

Generally, there is no special preparation required for this test. There are no restrictions on foods or fluids for patients. Talk to your physician in detail about any specific medications you are consuming. On the other hand, if you are a smoker, your physician may ask you to stop smoking for several hours before taking the test, as this can cause your vessels to narrow, which in turn can affect the results of the test.