An arterial Doppler scan, also known as a vascular Doppler ultrasound, is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to evaluate blood flow through the arteries. This test can be used to assess blood flow in the legs and feet, which can be important in diagnosing and monitoring conditions such as peripheral artery disease (PAD) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Here’s what you can expect during a leg arterial Doppler ultrasound:
Preparation: You may be asked to wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid applying lotion or oils to your legs before the test. Your healthcare provider may also advise you to avoid smoking and caffeine before the test.
Procedure: During the test, a technician will apply a special gel to your legs and use a handheld device called a transducer to produce sound waves that bounce off the arteries and create images of blood flow. The technician may also use a blood pressure cuff to measure blood flow in different areas of the legs.
Results: The images produced during the test can show areas of reduced blood flow or blockages in the arteries. This information can be used to diagnose and monitor conditions such as PAD and DVT. Your healthcare provider may also use the test to assess the effectiveness of treatment for these conditions.
Leg arterial Doppler ultrasounds are generally safe and painless, and they do not use ionizing radiation or require the use of contrast dye. If you are experiencing symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, or tingling, or if you have a history of conditions that affect blood flow, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your healthcare provider about whether a leg arterial Doppler scan may be appropriate for you. Early detection and treatment of vascular conditions can help prevent serious complications and improve your overall health outcomes.