This test uses sound waves to examine parts of the body. It specifically looks at fluid motion in the blood vessels.
Major Abdominal Arteries and Veins
Reasons for Test
Doppler ultrasound is used to:
- View abnormal flow of blood through vessels and/or the heart
- View and evaluate blockages to blood flow, such as clots
- Assess build-up of plaque inside a vessel
- Monitor blood flow through repaired blood vessels, like bypass grafts
- Examine a baby during a high-risk pregnancy
What to Expect
Prior to Test
Your doctor may do the following:
- A physical exam
- Blood or urine tests
In some cases your doctor may instruct you to:
- Fast for 8-12 hours before the test. This will decrease the amount of gas in your intestines and make organs easier to see.
- Have a full bladder before the test. You may need to drink six or more glasses of water without going to the bathroom.
- Avoid smoking, because it can interfere with test results.
Description of the Test
You will lie on a table. Your doctor will put a gel on the skin over the area that is to be examined. The gel helps the sound waves travel between the machine and your body.
The ultrasound machine has a hand-held instrument called a transducer, which looks like a microphone or wand. The transducer is pushed against your skin where the gel was applied. The transducer sends sound waves into your body. The waves bounce off your internal organs and echo back to the transducer. The echoes are converted to images that are shown on a screen. The doctor examines the images on the screen. He may make a photograph of them as well.
You may be asked to change positions or hold your breath during the exam.
Ultrasound of Abdomen
The gel will be cleaned from your body. In most cases, you will be able to return to normal activities.
How Long Will It Take?
About 20-30 minutes
Will It Hurt?
After the test, a radiologist will examine the images. Your doctor will advise you of the results and talk to you about treatment.
American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
General ultrasound imaging. Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?PG=genus. Updated June 2009. Accessed July 24, 2009.
Lewis JA. Illustrated Guide to Diagnostic Tests. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corporation; 1994.
Ultrasound. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ultrasound.html. Accessed July 24, 2009.
Last reviewed October 2009 by
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