OverviewA Doppler ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to show blood moving through blood vessels. A regular ultrasound also uses sound waves to create images of structures inside the body, but it can’t show blood flow. Doppler ultrasound works by measuring sound waves that are reflected from moving objects, such as red blood cells. This is known as the Doppler effect.
Types of Doppler Ultrasound TestsThey include:
- Colour Doppler. This type of Doppler uses a computer to change sound waves into different colours. These colours show the speed and direction of blood flow in real-time.
- Power Doppler, a newer type of colour Doppler. It can provide more detail of blood flow than standard colour Doppler. But it cannot show the direction of blood flow, which can be important in some cases.
- Spectral Doppler. This test shows blood flow information on a graph, rather than colour pictures. It can help show how much of a blood vessel is blocked.
- Duplex Doppler. This test uses standard ultrasound to take images of blood vessels and organs. Then a computer turns the images into a graph, as in spectral Doppler.
- Continuous-wave Doppler. In this test, sound waves are sent and received continuously. It allows for a more accurate measurement of blood that flows at faster speeds.
- Other names: Doppler ultrasonography
Why Would I Need One?If you have symptoms of DVT, such as swelling or pain in your leg, your doctor may use Doppler ultrasound to see what’s going on. The images show where blood slows down or stops, which could mean you have a clot. Doppler ultrasound is very effective in a lot of cases, but it’s not good at finding clots in your pelvis or the small blood vessels in your calf.
- Check blood flow in your veins, arteries, and heart
- Look for narrowed or blocked arteries
- See how blood flows after treatment
- Look for bulging in an artery which is called an aneurysm
- Blood flow problems with your liver, kidneys, pancreas, or spleen
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm