Arterial Doppler Ultrasound for Upper and Lower Extremities

Mercy Medical Center

The Vascular Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of circulatory system conditions. The Center’s nationally accredited Vascular Laboratory allows our vascular specialists to provide a variety of tests including arterial Doppler ultrasound.  

What is Arterial Doppler Ultrasound?

Non-invasive techniques like Doppler ultrasound have become the standard way of establishing the presence of arterial blockages in many areas of the body including the upper and lower extremity areas of the arms, legs and feet. Extremities may be the site of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which affects millions of Americans. Peripheral arterial disease is a serious vascular condition that can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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How is an Arterial Doppler Ultrasound performed?

An arterial Doppler ultrasound is performed by a technologist who has been specially trained. A gel substance is placed on the skin of the area being evaluated and a small probe is rubbed over the area to obtain the images. The images are always reviewed by a vascular surgeon. Different angles of the area may be examined, so patients may have to lie in different positions to get an image. No preparation is required for this test. 

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Who should receive an Arterial Doppler Ultrasound?

Patients are required to obtain a physician prescription for the test. It is the first step in diagnosing potential vascular conditions such as blockages, abdominal aortic aneurysms, narrowing of arteries or vein closure (venous occlusion). It is also the first step to relieving leg swelling, pain or cramping which is associated with PAD.