Duplex ultrasound is a type of vascular examination, which is a combination of medical ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound. Both elements are performed simultaneously with a single device. Due to this combination, the location and severity of narrowings in blood vessels can be very accurately assessed.
With the aid of duplex ultrasound, any defects and/or blockages in the arteries of the neck, legs and arms can be detected. The examination also presents information about the direction and speed at which blood flows through the blood vessels.
Ultrasound is a way to visualize the blood vessels. These sound waves are generated by a transducer. This is a measuring device the size of a pen. These sound waves are inaudible. By holding the transducer onto the skin, sound waves are sent into the body. The blood vessels in the body reflect the sound waves. These echoes are displayed on a monitor.
Doppler ultrasound is a special form of ultrasound, in which also the blood flow (speed and direction) in the blood vessels is made visible and audible.
The laboratory technologist applies a water-based gel to the body part to be examined. Then he or she holds a transducer to the skin. This transducer makes blood vessels visible on a monitor. The technologist can now examine the blood vessels.
Duplex ultrasound is a fully painless and harmless examination. The duration of the study is dependent on the body region to be examined.