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Arterial Doppler of Upper or Lower Extremities

An Arterial Doppler study shows blocked or reduced blood flow through the major arteries of your arms and legs. Your doctor may order this test if you have:

  • Numbness and tingling sensations in your hands, arms, feet and legs
  • A feeling of fatigue and heaviness in your arms and legs
  • Your doctor thinks you may have a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome

The Arterial Doppler ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of the blood flow from your heart to the upper extremities (arms) and lower extremities (legs), which can be seen on a computer screen.

Before your test
You do not need to do anything special to prepare for your test. The test will last approximately 60–90 minutes.

During your test

  • A technologist will put a blood pressure cuff on each of your arms and/or legs. This will tell the tech the blood pressure and pulse for each extremity.
  • A continuous ultrasound will be performed to assess the arteries for the location and the amount of any narrowing.
  • For lower extremities, you may be asked to exercise by walking briefly on a treadmill and to have the blood pressure recordings repeated.
  • If you are getting the test because your doctor thinks you may have thoracic outlet syndrome, you will be asked to do some arm movements during the test.

After the test
The images and blood pressure readings will be reviewed and evaluated by a physician, then the results will be sent to your doctor. Please follow up with your doctor so he or she can review the results with you and determine if treatment is necessary.

Find a physician or cardiologist now, or call 678-312-5000.