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  Ultrasound - Arterial Doppler  
» What is Arterial Doppler Ultrasound Imaging?
» What are some common uses of the procedure?
» How should I prepare for the procedure?
» What does the equipment look like?
» How does the procedure work?
» How is the procedure performed?
» What will I experience during and after the procedure?
» Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
» What are the benefits vs. risks?
» What are the limitations of Arterial Doppler Ultrasound Imaging?
 
 
 
  What is Arterial Doppler Ultrasound Imaging?  

Arterial Doppler ultrasound provides pictures of the body's arteries. A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of a vascular ultrasound examination. Arterial Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood as it flows through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.

 
 
  What are some common uses of the procedure?  
Arterial Doppler ultrasound is a useful way of evaluating the body's circulatory system. Arterial Doppler ultrasound is performed to: help monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body locate and identify blockages (stenosis) and abnormalities like blood clots, plaque or emboli and help plan for their effective treatment determine whether a patient is a good candidate for a procedure such as angioplasty to plan or evaluate the success of procedures that graft or bypass blood vessels Doppler ultrasound images can help the physician to see and evaluate: blockages to blood flow (such as clots) narrowing of vessels (which may be caused by plaque) tumors and congenital malformation
 
 
  How should I prepare for the procedure?  
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your Arterial Doppler ultrasound exam. You will need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure. If your abdominal vessels are being examined, unless the examination is performed on an urgent basis, it is often best to fast before the procedure.
 
 
  What does the equipment look like?  
 
 
  How does the procedure work?  
Ultrasound imaging is based on the same principles involved in the sonar used by bats, ships and fishermen. When a sound wave strikes an object, it bounces backward, or echoes. By measuring these echo waves it is possible to determine how far away the object is and its size, shape, consistency (whether the object is solid, filled with fluid, or both) and uniformity. In medicine, ultrasound is used to detect changes in appearance and function of organs, tissues, or abnormal masses, such as tumors. In an ultrasound examination, a transducer both sends the sound waves and records the echoing waves. When the transducer is pressed against the skin, it directs a stream of inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body. As the sound waves bounce off of internal organs, fluids and tissues, the sensitive microphone in the transducer records tiny changes in the sound's pitch and direction. These signature waves are instantly measured and displayed by a computer, which in turn creates a real-time picture on the monitor. These live images are usually recorded on videotape and one or more frames of the moving pictures are typically captured as still images.
 
 
  How is the procedure performed?  
For most ultrasound exams, the patient is positioned lying face-up on an examination table that can be tilted or moved. A clear 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. The sonographer (ultrasound technologist) or radiologist then presses the transducer firmly against the skin and sweeps it back and forth over the area of interest. Doppler sonography is performed using the same transducer When the examination is complete, the patient may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed. However, the sonographer or radiologist is often able to review the ultrasound images in real-time as they are acquired and the patient can be released immediately. This ultrasound examination is usually completed within 30 minutes.
 
 
  What will I experience during and after the procedure?  
Most ultrasound examinations are painless, fast and easy. After you are positioned on the examination table, the radiologist or sonographer will spread some warm gel on your skin and then press the transducer firmly against your body, moving it back and forth over the area of interest until the desired images are captured. There may be varying degrees of discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against the area being examined. If scanning is performed over an area of tenderness, you may feel pressure or minor pain from the procedure. If a Doppler ultrasound study is performed, you may actually hear pulse-like sounds that change in pitch as the blood flow is monitored and measured.

Once the imaging is complete, the gel will be wiped off your skin. After an ultrasound exam, you should be able to resume your normal activities.
 
 
  Who interprets the results and how do I get them ?  
A physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret ultrasound examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician, who will share the results with you. In some cases the physician may discuss preliminary results with you at the conclusion of your examination.
 
 
  What are the benefits vs. risks?  

Benefits

Benefits Ultrasound scanning is noninvasive (no needles or injections) and is usually painless. Ultrasound is widely available, easy-to-use and less expensive than other imaging methods. Ultrasound imaging uses no ionizing radiation. Ultrasound scanning gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images. Ultrasound causes no health problems and may be repeated as often as is necessary.

Risks

Risks For standard diagnostic ultrasound there are no known harmful effects on humans.
 
 
  What are the limitations of Arterial Doppler Ultrasound Imaging?  
Vessels deep in the body are harder to see than superficial vessels. Specialized equipment may be necessary. Smaller vessels are more difficult to image and evaluate than larger vessels. Calcifications that occur as a result of atherosclerosis may obstruct the ultrasound beam. Sometimes ultrasound cannot differentiate between a blood vessel that is closed or very nearly closed because the weak volume of blood flow produces a weak signal.
 
     
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