What is Doppler ultrasound?

A Doppler ultrasound test uses high-frequency sound waves to evaluate the flow of blood in your blood vessels. It is one of the most common tests used to diagnose peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Doppler ultrasound can be used to evaluate blood vessels in your legs, neck, or abdomen. Here’s what happens during a Doppler ultrasound test:
  • Getting ready. You’ll change into a gown and lie down on an exam table.
  • Gel. Depending on the area being studied, a technician will put water-based gel on segments of your legs or on your neck.
  • Ultrasound. A Doppler ultrasound device, called a transducer, will be moved along your skin in the area that is being studied. The transducer uses high-velocity sound waves to evaluate the blood flow through your blood vessels. The test can show narrowed blood vessels, blood clots, or areas where the blood is flowing backward.
  • Cleaning up. At the end of the test, the technician will wipe off the ultrasound gel so that you can dress to go home.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.