As Vascular Scientists the majority of our work involves doing ultrasound scans of arteries and veins in the body. This contributes to the diagnosis and management of many conditions including stroke or mini-stroke, peripheral arterial disease, deep vein thrombosis, and venous incompetence to name just a few. Our scans help determine which patients may be suitable for surgery, as well as other methods of treatment.
You may have heard the terms “Doppler” or “Duplex” used when referring to our scans. In many of our investigations we measure the speed of the blood in the body, and this is possible due to a phenomenon called the Doppler effect. An example of this is when the siren of an ambulance or fire engine changes pitch as it travels away from you. The name “Doppler” can also be used for when the pulses are listened to, usually in the feet, as well as when blood pressure cuffs are placed around the arms and ankles of a patient to detect possible arterial narrowings or blockages.
Below is an image taken from one of our scans. The red area demonstrates blood flow in a superficial femoral artery, and the waveform below this tells us more information about the blood flow throughout the whole leg.