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Vascular ultrasound scan

What is a vascular ultrasound scan?

A vascular ultrasound scan may also be called a “duplex” or a “Doppler”. It uses ultrasound to produce images of blood vessels throughout the body. It is a safe and effective way to assess the blood flow in the arteries or veins. The test is painless and does not use any radiation or needles. There are no risks associated with this test. The test can take up to one hour.

Vascular ultrasound equipment
This is where the vascular ultrasound will take place.

Where do I go?

The Vascular Studies Unit (VSU) is on level 5 of the Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre (ATC). Please inform reception of your arrival as soon as you enter the department. There are often other clinics in progress so you may not be called in order of arrival. You may bring a relative or friend in with you d

What is consent?

Before your test is performed you must give your consent or permission. Consent is the process by which you give permission to health professionals to provide your care and treatment. It may be implied (offering your arm for a blood pressure reading) or formal (signing a formal consent form for an operation). In either case your consent must be given voluntarily and you must have all the information you need to make a decision. If you feel you do not have enough information or do not understand the procedure please ask

How is a vascular ultrasound scan performed?

There is no preparation needed and you may eat and drink as usual prior to the test. A clinical vascular scientist (who may be male or female) will perform and interpret your ultrasound scan. You may need to remove some clothing so that he/she can scan the region of interest. The lights will be dimmed to allow the best images to be obtained. The scan will be performed with you lying down or seated on the couch. Gel is applied to the part of the body to be scanned. The ultrasound probe will be moved across the region of the body to be scanned. During the test, you may hear some “swooshing” noises from the ultrasound machine. These sounds are normal.

Performing a Vascular Ultrasound
Performing a vascular ultrasound.

What happens next?

The clinical vascular scientist can comment briefly on the findings and will write a report for the consultant who requested the test. You will be able to discuss the results of this investigation fully with the referring team at your next outpatient appointment. In rare cases, the clinical vascular scientist may need to discuss the result with a doctor before you leave.