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Doppler ultrasound

Doppler ultrasound is a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to measure the amount of blood flow through arteries and veins of different parts of the body. During Doppler ultrasound , a handheld device is passed lightly over the skinabove a blood vessel. The device is called a transducer. It sends and receives sound waves that are amplified through a microphone. The sound waves bounce off solid objects, including blood cells. The movement of blood cells causes a change in the pitch of the reflected sound waves. This is called the Doppler Effect. If there is no blood flow, the pitch does not change.

The vessels studied with Doppler ultrasound

Theoretically, with the help of ultrasound one can assess the condition of many of the arteries and veins of the body, but Doppler ultrasound has a special clinical value in the following areas:

  • Neck and head vessels;
  • Lower extremities vessels;
  • Upper extremities vessels;
  • Heart vessels;
  • Abdominal aorta;
  • Renal artery;
  • Inferior vena cava;
  • Placenta vessels.

Doppler ultrasound is performed to determine

  • the size of blood vessels;
  • the inner contours of vessel walls;
  • abnormalities in blood vessels;
  • blood velocity;
  • blood flow direction;
  • blood flow phasicity;
  • consistency of venous valves.

The reasons for Doppler ultrasound:

  • Different types of headaches, dizziness, tinnitus, periodic fainting.
  • Numbness, blanching and constant feeling of coldness in arms.
  • The presence of varix, pain and swelling in legs.
  • Blanching, feeling cold, and tingling in legs. Alternating lameness.
  • Subcutaneous veins of the anterior abdominal wall dilation (cirsomphalos).
  • Abdominal pain combined with the presence of abdominal palpable pulsating mass.
  • Renal failure combined with high blood pressure.
  • Traumatic injuries of big venous or arterial vessels.
  • Persistent or intermittent retrosternal pain.
  • Diabetes of first or second type.
  • Disorders of fetation growth and development.

Preparation and ultrasound procedure performance:

Avoid smoking or drink coffee and strong tea for at least two hours before the test. Smoking and caffeine use can shrink your blood vessels and affect the accuracy of the test.

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined.

You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.

For most ultrasound exams, you will be positioned lying face-up on an examination table that can be tilted or moved. Patients may be turned to either side to improve the quality of the images.

A clear water-based gel is applied to the area of the body being studied to help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin that can block the sound waves from passing into your body. The sonographer (ultrasound technologist) or radiologist then places the transducer on the skin in various locations, sweeping over the area of interest or angling the sound beam from a different location to better see an area of concern.

Doppler sonography is performed using the same transducer.

When the examination is complete, you may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed.

This ultrasound examination is usually completed within 30 to 45 minutes. Occasionally, complex examinations may take longer.

Doppler ultrasound may help diagnose many conditions, including:

  • Bulging arteries (aneurysms)
  • Narrowing of an artery (stenosis)
  • Abnormal development of vessel
  • An arteriovenous fistula
  • Phlebeurysm
  • Artery atherosclerosis
  • Thrombosis
  • Traumatic injuries of arteries and veins
  • Placental insufficiency

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