What to expect at my appointment?

What is an ultrasound scan?

A vascular ultrasound scan may also be called a “duplex” or a “Doppler”. This test 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 ultrasound.

Is there any preparation required for the test?

There is usually no preparation needed for an ultrasound scan.

If we have been asked to scan your abdomen, it is helpful if you are able to only eat a light meal prior to your appointment. This will help remove any excess bowel gas and can improve the test results.  You can drink fluids as normal. If a medical condition requires you to eat regularly please do not restrict your food intake – it will still be possible to perform the scan.

What should I expect when I arrive?

When you arrive in the department, please check in at reception. There are often other clinics being performed so you may not be called in order of arrival.

A clinical vascular scientist will perform and interpret your ultrasound scan. You may bring a friend or relative in to your test, or request a chaperone if you would like one.

The clinical vascular scientist will show you around to one of the scanning rooms. They will perform and interpret your ultrasound scan.

You may need to remove some clothing so that the scientist can scan the region of interest. The lights will be dimmed to allow the best ultrasound images to be obtained.

The scan will be performed with you lying down or sat on the couch. If we have been asked to scan your veins, we may ask you to stand for part of the scan if you can. Gel is applied to the part of the body to be scanned. The 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.

How long does it take?

We advise patients that most tests can take up to 1 hour. Some can take longer, but approximate timings will be given in your appointment letter.

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 fully discuss the results of this investigation 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.

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