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blood flow studies

Alternative Names 
duplex vascular studies, Doppler vascular ultrasound

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 doctor may order this test if any of the following conditions are suspected:
  • artery blockage, such as from cholesterol build up
  • 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 doctor can give any instructions if needed.

What do the test results mean? 
Abnormalities in the pattern of blood flow can mean different things. Some common causes of abnormalities include:
  • blockage in the arteries, such as from cholesterol build-up
  • blood clots
  • poor circulation
  • blockage or blood clots in an artificial bypass graft
Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr John Hearne
Last Updated: 22/09/2004
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

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