Venous Doppler

What is a venous doppler? A venous doppler is a test that measures the blood flow through the veins in your body. This non-invasive test uses sound waves to produce images of the veins, so it's considered an ultrasound test. The test is often ordered for blood clots found in the veins of the leg, known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), but can be performed for both upper and lower extremities.

venous doppler

Why may this test be performed? The test can be ordered for any of the following reasons:

  • Long standing swelling in the legs
  • A blockage in blood flow
  • Narrowing of vessels
  • Tumors and congenital malformations
  • Providing images for needle or catheter placement
  • Vein mapping for bypass surgery
  • Examining a blood vessel grafting for dialysis

Who is at risk for a DVT? While there is no direct link or correlation to who develops deep vein thrombosis, the following factors may increase the risk of clots forming in deep veins:

  • Surgery or injury
  • Long-term bed rest or immobility
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • A history of venous thrombosis

How is the test performed? The day of the exam, it is advised to wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing. There are no specific dietary or medicinal restrictions that need to be followed. Your healthcare provider will ask you to lie on an examination table with your arm or leg exposed. Gel will be placed on the arm or leg and an ultrasound wand, known as a transducer, will be moved across to collect images of your veins. The test may take about 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Results: After the images are analyzed and written into a report, the physician who ordered the test will go over the results and any next steps that may need to be taken.