A Doppler ultrasound is a test that is done to see the flow of blood through blood vessels. It is an imaging test and uses sound waves to create images of the moving parts such as red blood cells. It is similar to the normal ultrasound because both use sound waves to create images. The only difference is that the normal ultrasound can only be used to see the images of the organs and it cannot be used to show the images of blood flow.
Dopplers are used by doctors to find out if there is any condition that is reducing or blocking the flow of blood in your body. It is used for diagnosing heart diseases. It is also useful for checking the functioning of the heart. It helps to look for any blockages in the blood flow in the legs thus causing deep vein thrombosis. It also helps in determining the narrowing of the blood vessels. Narrowing of arteries in the legs means that you are suffering from a condition called peripheral arterial disease and if there is a narrowing of arteries of the neck it means that you have a condition called carotid artery disease.
Types of Doppler tests
There are different types of Doppler tests. The different Doppler tests are given here:
In this type of Doppler test, a computer is used for changing sound waves into different colors. The colors help to show the direction and speed of blood cells in the body.
It is the latest type of Doppler test. It helps to get more details about the blood flow in the body than the standard Doppler test. But, the drawback of using this Doppler is that it does not show the direction of blood flow which may be an important requirement in some cases.
In this type of Doppler test, the flow of blood can be seen on a graph as compared to the color pictures. This is used to see the blockage in a blood vessel.
In this type of Doppler test, the normal ultrasound is used to take images of blood vessels and other organs. Then, the images are converted into graphs using a computer.
In this type of Doppler test, continuous sound waves are sent and received. It helps in better measurement of blood flow at a fast speed.
Before the test
Before the test, you have to prepare in the following way:
You will be asked to avoid smoking at least two hours before the test. Nicotine present in cigarettes will cause narrowing of the blood vessels that can affect the results of the test.
For some Doppler tests, you may be asked not to eat or drink for many hours before the test.
The doctor will give you any other instructions based on your specific health problems.
During the test
The Doppler test is done in the following way:
It is a painless, non-invasive, and simple procedure and can be done in the doctor’s clinic or the radiology department of a hospital.
You will lie down on a table and will be asked to expose the area of your body that has to be tested. A doctor will spread a gel on the skin over the area that has to be tested.
The nurse may tie cuffs on different parts of your body such as arms and legs to measure your blood pressure while doing the test.
Now, the doctor will move a wand-like device which is called a transducer over the area of your body. The device will send sound waves into your body.
The movement of blood cells in your body will produce a change in the pitch of the sound waves. You can hear swishing sounds during the test.
The sound waves are recorded and images or graphs are formed on a monitor.
After the test
After the test is finished, the doctor or the available nurse will wipe off the gel from your body.
It will take about half an hour to one hour for the test to get completed.
You can go back home after the test. You can drive home after the test and there is no need to bring anyone along with you to drive you back home.
If the results of the Doppler ultrasound are normal, it indicates that you do not have a blockage or clot in an artery, blood is flowing normally in your body, there is no narrowing of the blood vessels, and there is no aneurysm (a balloon-like swelling in the arteries).
The results depend on the area that was tested. If you have any questions related to the results you can talk to the doctors at CARE Hospitals who are available to give answers to your questions.
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