Arterial and Venous Doppler Studies are noninvasive diagnostic procedures used to assess blood flow through arteries and veins in various parts of the body. These examinations are essential for diagnosing and monitoring a range of vascular conditions. In this article, we'll explore why Arterial and Venous Doppler Studies are conducted, how to prepare for them, what happens during the procedure, and what to expect afterward.
Why are They Done?
Arterial and Venous Doppler Studies are performed for several reasons, including
Assessing Blood Flow
To check for signs and symptoms indicating reduced blood flow in arteries or veins in areas such as the neck, legs, or arms.
To assess the effectiveness of procedures aimed at restoring blood flow in a specific area.
Diagnosing Vascular Conditions
To identify various vascular disorders such as atherosclerosis, aneurysms, stenosis, venous insufficiency and varicose veins.
Patients typically don't need to make significant preparations for Arterial and Venous Doppler Studies. However, healthcare physicians may offer specific instructions based on the patient's health condition. Patients might be advised to avoid smoking for at least 2 hours before the test, as smoking can cause blood vessels to constrict.
During the Procedure
Arterial and Venous Doppler Studies involve the following steps
Patients may need to remove jewelry or objects that could interfere with the procedure, while glasses, dentures, or hearing aids can usually be retained.
Patients will lie down on an examination table or bed.
A clear gel will be applied to the skin at the locations where blood vessels are to be evaluated.
The technician will use a Doppler probe, a small handheld device, to press against the skin and move it around over the area of interest.
Blood Flow Detection
When blood flow is detected, patients will hear a distinctive "whoosh, whoosh" sound, and the probe will be moved to assess blood flow in different areas of the artery or vein.
Arterial Studies ABI (Legs)
For studies involving the legs, blood pressure cuffs will be applied to the thigh, calf, and ankle. These cuffs are inflated sequentially to compare blood pressure in these areas. Blood pressure is checked using the Doppler probe just below each cuff.
After the Procedure
Following Arterial and Venous Doppler Studies, patients can generally return to their regular diet and activities, unless their healthcare physician advises otherwise. There's typically no special post-procedure care required.