Evaluating blood flow through your limbs’ veins
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
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A duplex ultrasound combines a traditional ultrasound, which uses sound waves that bounce off blood vessels to create an image, and Doppler ultrasound, which records sound waves that bounce off moving objects, such as blood, to measure speed and flow.
Your doctor may recommend a venous duplex ultrasound if they suspect an obstruction or clot is slowing or blocking blood flow back to the heart. Conditions such as venous insufficiency or deep vein thrombosis can cause pain, swelling and varicose veins in the affected limb.
What to expect during a venous duplex ultrasound
During the test, you will be asked to lie on a table and remain still. An ultrasound technician will apply gel on the area being examined and move a small device called a transducer over the area. A computer will turn the sound waves into images, and you will likely hear your blood moving as the Doppler records your blood flow.
You may be asked to perform breathing exercises, and the examiner may apply pressure to certain veins. You may feel some pressure from the transducer on your skin, but the exam, which typically takes 15 to 30 minutes, should be painless. Your doctor will review the results with you when they’re available.
Venous disease treatment may include medications, minimally invasive and surgical procedures to improve blood flow and circulation.