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Vascular ultrasound scan (inpatient)

Patient information A-Z

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. There is no preparation needed and you may eat and drink as usual prior to the test. You may bring a relative or friend in with you during the test or request a chaperone if you would like one. The test can take up to one hour.

Vascular Studies Unit assessment room

About the test

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 healthcare 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.

What should I expect when I arrive?

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 they 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 or on your bed. 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.

A patient lies on their back on a scanning couch. A clinical vascular scientist uses a probe to scan the leg veins.

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 on the same day.

You will be able to discuss the results of this investigation fully with the doctors on the ward.

ultrasound probe on patient's neck

Contacts / further information

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to call the Vascular Studies Unit (VSU) on 01223 348117.

Privacy and dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and/or specialist one-to-one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151