During the process, you may hear swishing or pulse-like noises. The waves are captured and shown on a monitor as pictures or graphs. After the test, the provider will wipe the gel off your skin. The exam takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete.
You can expect to pay about $150 to $300 for this test. Some insurance companies require you to pay out of pocket for this test but others cover it as part of your coverage. If you have health insurance, ask your doctor what kind of coverage you have for these tests. Sometimes there are restrictions on who can order the test or where it can be done. Your doctor should be able to tell you more about any such limitations.
The Doppler test is used to measure the speed of blood flowing through vessels. It produces a graph showing how fast the blood flows against a baseline. This baseline can be seen in the form of a color scale that ranges from green to red. When you first see the monitor after the test has been completed, the picture will appear black because there are no waves yet to capture. As more measurements are taken, the machine produces a color-coded image of blood flow in the arteries. You can then see where there might be problems by looking at areas of the image that are in red or yellow.
A computer converts all of the sound waves into moving visuals that may be viewed on a screen in real time. After the test, you just wipe the gel off your body and you're done. It normally takes between 30 and 60 minutes. The findings of a Doppler ultrasonography can be obtained extremely fast. You can see the results right away on your screen.
This test uses sound waves to create images of blood flow within the body. These sounds are then converted into colors that are displayed on a monitor. You will be asked to remove any metal objects such as jewelry before the exam.
The technician performing the test scans several areas of your body by pressing various parts of the skin with a special device called a transducer. He or she listens to the blood flowing through your arteries and veins with these devices. They also use special software that analyzes the sounds from these tests to create images of blood flow within the body.
Some physicians believe this test provides information about heart disease and other vascular problems not available from the standard electrocardiogram. However, it does not provide information about conditions such as myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericardial effusion (a buildup of fluid around the heart). Such conditions could be diagnosed using other methods.
Doppler ultrasound has many advantages over traditional methods for evaluating cardiovascular health. It is noninvasive and does not involve radiation exposure.
While resting on your back, a gel will be put to the part of the body being investigated. The sonographer will next apply firm pressure to the skin and move the transducer back and forth over the region of interest. As the blood flow is measured, you may really hear pulse-like noises that alter in pitch...These sounds are created by the movement of blood cells through the veins that drain blood from all parts of the body except the lungs.
The transducer will be held in this position for about five minutes. The operator will then remove the gel, which should disappear within a few seconds, if it has not been rubbed off against clothing or other objects.
A technician will now attach the ultrasound probe to a machine called a "Doppler scanner," which produces images of the veins under investigation. The probe will then be placed on your chest over the area of the heart where the major veins enter it. A range of motion called "cranial displacement" will be used to find these veins. Once found, the probe will be fixed in place and kept there while the sonographer records the velocity of blood flowing through each vessel.
This procedure takes about 30 minutes total.
You may feel some pressure when the probe is pressed against your skin but this is normal and will go away after a few minutes. There is no danger associated with this test.
The exam lasts between 10 and 30 minutes. The probe will then be removed by someone. Nurses will keep an eye on you for the next 20 to 30 minutes. Don't eat or drink anything for an hour following the test, since the sedation will wear off. The entire procedure takes about an hour.
Most people can walk out of the clinic after the test without assistance. However, if you have a history of heart problems or are taking medications that affect your heart, you may need help getting up and down stairs or walking for longer than one hour.
People vary in how long the echo test takes. The amount of time it takes depends on many factors such as the type of probe used, how much it is moved around during the scan, and how much radiation it emits. A complete scan typically takes about an hour but can take longer if more areas of the heart are examined.
The nurse performing the test will tell you how long it will last before she starts checking your heart. She will also tell you what part of your body will be scanned during the test. This information helps the doctor see any abnormalities that may not be apparent from just looking at you. You will be asked to lie still on a table while the probe is placed over your heart. The probe works like a microphone; it sends vibrations through your chest wall and into your heart.