How To Prepare
You may need to stop using products
that contain nicotine (cigarettes, chewing tobacco) for 30 minutes to 2 hours
before the test. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict and may give false
How It Is Done
This test is done by a doctor who
specializes in performing and interpreting imaging tests (radiologist) or
by an ultrasound technologist (sonographer) who is supervised by a radiologist.
It is done in an ultrasound room in a hospital or doctor's office.
You will need to remove any jewelry that might interfere with the Doppler
ultrasound scan. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes,
depending on which area is being examined (you may be allowed to keep on your
underwear if it does not interfere with the test). You will be given a cloth or
paper covering to use during the test.
- For abdominal scans, you will lie on your
- For chest scans, you will lie on your back with your neck
- For head and neck scans, your head may be turned
to one side.
- For an arm or leg scan, your head will be slightly
raised and the exposed arm or leg will be turned slightly outward. Sometimes
for a leg scan, you may be asked to lie on your stomach.
pregnancy, you will lie on your back or on your left side with your belly
Gel is applied to the skin to promote the passage of the
sound waves. The transducer is placed in the gel and moved along the skin. You
need to lie very still during the procedure. You may hear sounds that represent
the flow of blood through the blood vessels.
The test usually
takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Arteries in the arms and legs
This test is often
performed on both arms or both legs. Even if the suspected blood flow problem
is in only one limb, both may be tested for comparison. If your arms are being
tested, they will be tested first while you are lying down and then again while
you are sitting.
Depending on which blood vessels are being
tested, a blood pressure cuff may be wrapped around one or both limbs so that
the blood pressure can be taken at several different places. When testing the
legs, a blood pressure cuff may be wrapped first around the calf and then
around the thigh. The test may be done at several locations on your leg. When
testing the arms, the pressure cuff may be wrapped first around the forearm and
then around the upper arm.
Testing may be done before and after
exercise, if you are healthy enough.
Veins in the arms and legs
For this test, you will
be asked to lie down and breathe normally. You must lie very still. Any changes
in blood flow that occur as a response to your breathing patterns are