Any abnormality in a person’s blood flow
can lead to a number of health issues, many of which could be serious in
nature. It is for this reason that blood flow tests are such an important part
of medical diagnostic procedures. The most effective and accurate way to check
blood flow is with the use of Doppler Ultrasound. A normal ultrasound uses
sound waves to build images of the interior of the body, but it does not show
blood flow. A Doppler Ultrasound works by using the Doppler effect – the
measurement of soundwaves being reflected off moving objects; in this case the
red blood cells.
Where It Is Used
Doppler ultrasound has a wide range of uses
in medicine. The most common of these include:
- Checking the functioning of the
heart. It is used in conjunction with an electrocardiogram (ECG) so that both electric
signals that control heart movement and the resulting blood flow can be
- Checking for damage to blood
vessels and/or defects in the structure of the heart.
- Determining if there is any restriction in the blood circulation
that could lead to conditions like deep vein thrombosis.
- Checking for any narrowing of blood
vessels that restrict blood flow that may lead to other medical conditions,
some of which can be critical.
- Checking the blood flow of
pregnant women and their unborn babies. If there are any problems, the sooner
they are identified and treatment begun,
the greater the chances of effectively treating them.
- Monitoring blood circulation
after surgery, especially in that part of the body where the procedure was
The Test Process
The procedure consists of these steps:
- You will lie down on a special
platform with the part of the body being tested exposed
- A special gel is applied to the
- The doctor will move a
transducer (a wand like object that sends
out sound waves) over the gelled area
- The moving blood causes the
tome of the sound waves to change
- The sound waves, before and
after the change are recorded and then displayed as images on a monitor
- When the test is over, the gel
will be wiped off the body and you may get off the platform
- A test will typically take
between 30 to 60 minutes to complete
- A specialist will examine and
analyze the images displayed on the monitor to determine if there are any problems
with the blood flow
If any issues are found, a course of
treatment may be prescribed or further medical tests may be required to further
refine the diagnosis.
Doppler Ultrasound is a highly
sophisticated procedure which offers the ability to check for and identify
blood flow issues very early in their development. This enables treatment to
begin quickly and be more effective. To be sure that the test is carried out
the right way, it should be done at a hospital with specialized vascular
medicine department where there are medical specialists who have been trained
in the use of the equipment and analyzing the results and where any required
treatment may be provided.