Reasons You Might Need to Get a Duplex Ultrasound

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A duplex ultrasound identifies how your blood flows through your vessels and calculates how fast it is flowing. It often can show the vein doctor your blood flow diameter and if there is any obstruction in your blood vessel as well as how much. This is a painless, but necessary procedure.

It calculates how sound waves reflect of of objects that are moving. The procedure uses a wand that bounces small surges of sound waves off your red blood cells and this information is sent over to a computer. Two-dimensional color images are produced which identify if any problems in your blood vessels affect your blood flow, like cholesterol deposits, for instance.

What to Expect During your Vein Treatment

During the procedure, your ultrasound technician might have you put a medical gown on and lie down on a table. They will apply gel on the area that will be tested. This gel is used for helping the sound waves make their way into your tissues. They then use a transducer (wand) to send out sound waves over the tested area. The way in which the sound waves reflect back is measured by a computer and these waves are turned into images. You can hear your blood moving through your veins and arteries which sounds like a ‘swishing’ sound and is created by a Doppler.

During the exam, you will have to stay still and might be asked to lie in various positions. You might have to hold in a deep breath. The technician in some cases during the duplex ultrasound might measure tje ankle-brachial (ABI) index of your legs. In this case, you would be asked to wear blood pressure cuffs on your legs and arms during this test.

There is usually no preparation for this type of ultrasound. If the test is being done on your stomach area, you might be told not to drink or eat anything after midnight. You should be clear about any medications you are on, like blood thinners as these could affect your test results.

Reasons to Have a Duplex Ultrasound Done

The doctor might suggest this ultrasound to help them examine and diagnose conditions that could have an effect on your blood vessels. Some of these conditions include:

  • Blood Clots
  • Arterial Occlusion
  • Abdominal aneurysm
  • Varicose Veins
  • Renal Vascular Disease
  • Carotid Occlusive Disease
  • Venous Insufficiency

There are usually no instructions that you need to follow after the exam. A vascular surgeon will review your test and will send your doctor the results. Your doctor will then call you in to discuss the results with you and how they will affect your health.