An arterial doppler is a non-invasive diagnostic test performed to evaluate blood flow in different areas of the arms and legs. Doppler technology uses sound waves to identify differences in blood pressure in various areas and to help diagnose narrowing or blockage of major arteries. Symptoms which may alert patients and doctors to possible trouble may include:
- Leg or arm pain
- Numbness and tingling
During the arterial Doppler procedure, blood pressure is taken with a cuff at various points along the arms and legs. While these readings are being taken, a handheld device called a transducer is moved across each area. By measuring changes in pitch through ultrasound, the transducer detects variations in blood flow before and after the cuff is inflated, producing images of them on a screen for the doctor to examine.
An arterial Doppler assists in the diagnosis of various medical conditions which may include:
- Blocked arteries
- Peripheral artery disease
- Blood clots
- Venous insufficiency
- Heart valve defects and congenital heart disease
- Arterial stenosis
The arterial Doppler test is performed in the ultrasound or radiology department or in a vascular lab and takes under an hour to be administered. Patients may experience mild cramping as the cuff temporarily cuts off circulation in a given area, but may return to their normal routine immediately after the test is completed.