A duplex ultrasound is an imaging technique that combines 2 types of ultrasound imaging procedures to study the structure of blood vessels and how blood flows through them. Conventional ultrasound imaging uses sound waves that reflect off the blood vessels, indicating its structure, while Doppler ultrasound studies the way sound waves reflect off moving objects i.e. blood. Duplex ultrasound is used to study the pattern and speed of blood flow, and detect conditions characterized by blockages in the blood vessels.
Arterial duplex is indicated in peripheral arterial diseases or PAD of the upper and lower extremities, caused by narrowing or blockage of the arteries by plaque or clot formation. Aneurysms (abnormal dilation of artery) or injuries to arteries can also be identified.
To perform arterial duplex of the upper and lower extremities, you will lie on a table and your doctor applies gel over the area to be tested, which helps conduct the sound waves. An ultrasound device (wand or transducer) is moved back and forth o the skin. Sound waves are passed through and reflect off structures. This information is recorded and translated by a computer into images on a screen, which can then be interpreted by your doctor. The procedure lasts for around 30 minutes, after which you may continue with your regular activities. Arterial duplex of the upper and lower extremities is usually not associated with any risks or complications.