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Blood Flow Studies

Alternate Names

  • duplex vascular studies
  • Doppler vascular ultrasound

Definition

This test measures blood flow through an artery or vein.

Who is a candidate for the test?

The test is done to find out if certain blood vessel diseases are present. A healthcare professional may order this test if any of the following conditions are suspected:
  • artery blockage, such as from cholesterol buildup
  • injury to blood vessels
  • poor blood flow or circulation
  • blood clot inside a blood vessel or artificial bypass graft

How is the test performed?

Clothing is removed from the area under study. Detectors are placed on the skin at specific points over the blood vessel being tested. The detectors use special sound waves that are bounced of the blood vessels and blood inside the vessels. The detectors send the information to a monitor, where it is processed and recorded. This test causes no pain and does not expose people to harmful radiation.

What is involved in preparation for the test?

Generally, no preparation is required. A healthcare professional can give any instructions if needed.

What do the test results mean?

Abnormalities in the pattern of blood flow can mean any of several things. Some common causes of abnormalities include:
  • blockage in the arteries, such as from cholesterol buildup
  • blood clots
  • poor circulation, often due to blood vessel damage from diabetes or other chronic conditions
  • blockage or blood clots in an artificial bypass graft

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