A Doppler ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to show blood moving through blood vessels. A regular ultrasound also uses sound waves to create images of structures inside the body, but it can’t show blood flow.
Doppler ultrasound works by measuring sound waves that are reflected from moving objects, such as red blood cells. This is known as the Doppler effect.
Types of Doppler Ultrasound Tests
There are different types of Doppler ultrasound tests. They include:
- Color Doppler.
- Power Doppler.
- Spectral Doppler.
- Duplex Doppler.
- Continuous wave Doppler.
What is it used for?
Doppler ultrasound tests are used to help health care providers find out if you have a condition that is reducing or blocking your blood flow. It may also be used to help diagnose certain heart diseases. The test is most often used to:
- Check heart function. It is often done along with an electrocardiogram, a test that measures electrical signals in the heart.
- Look for blockages in blood flow. Blocked blood flow in the legs can cause a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
- Check for blood vessel damage and defects in the structure of the heart.
- Look for narrowing of blood vessels. Narrowed arteries in the arms and legs can mean you have a condition called peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Narrowing of arteries in the neck can mean you have a condition called carotid artery stenosis.
- Monitor blood flow after surgery.
- Check for normal blood flow in a pregnant woman and her unborn baby.
Why is color Doppler test done?
Instead, it turns sound waves into images. Your doctor can use it to check for issues with blood flow, such as clots in your veins or blockages in your arteries. It’s one of the main ways to test for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) — a condition where blood clots form in veins deep in your body, usually in your legs.