There are two kinds of blood vessels in our legs; the blood vessels which are on the surface and the blood vessels which are seated deeply. When a blood clot appears within the deep veins of the leg, the condition is called as Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT. This results in welling and reddening of the thigh, calf or foot (whichever is the affected area). DVT also results in pain and inability to move along with permanently damaging the vein if not treated for long.
What is a DVT Ultrasound?
DVT ultrasound also called Doppler ultrasound is the best way for diagnosing whether the person is suffering from DVT or any other kind of blockage and where the blood clot is present. The process of DVT ultrasound can also help in regaining the blood flow in the blocked area and even check an unborn child’s health by studying its blood flow. DVT ultrasound tests with the help of reflected sound waves to study the blood flow through a blood vessel. The blood flow in all the major arteries and vein of legs, neck, arms and other body parts can be accessed with the help of this process. The result of the ultrasound can point out where there is a blockage or through which artery or vein the blood flow is reduced. If the blood clot in the deep vein of the leg is located with the help of DVT ultrasound in time, the patient can avoid pulmonary embolism or PE ( a case in which the blood clot breaks loose from the deep vein of the leg and travels to the lung blocking the pulmonary artery).
How is a DVT Ultrasound Performed?
- Lightly over the skin above the blood vessel, a handheld device is passed. This device is known as a transducer.
- The transducer carries out the function of sending and receiving sound waves. The waves are amplified with a microphone.
- The sound waves travel smoothly until there is a solid object in the oath which causes the sound waves to bounce off. The solid objects include anything like blood cells.
- A change in the pitch of the reflected sound wave occurs when the blood cells tend to move. If there is no blood flow, there will be no change in pitch.
- The reflected sound waves and the change in pitch are noted by the doctor and the graph is formed to get the result. If you are undergoing a Duplex Doppler, the doctor will also provide you with images.
From 30 minutes to 2 hours before the DVT Ultrasound test, you have to stop consumption of tobacco and other substances which might narrow the blood vessels and give a false result. Depending on the part of the body the DVT Ultrasound test in occurring, you have to lie or your back or chest. If your leg is being tested for DVT, you have to lie on your stomach, unless you are pregnant in which case you lie on your back turning on the right side of your belly. You have to remove all kind of jewellery and also remove any clothing covering the area of examination. The gel is then applied on the spot of examination. You are required to lie still when the procedure is going on. It takes about 30 to 60 minutes for the DVT Ultrasound procedure to be complete.
How Does DVT Ultrasound Make You Feel?
If you are about to undergo a DVT ultrasound or a Doppler ultrasound, you need not worry since there is not much discomfort that the procedure will cause you. The only feeling you get is a little cold when the gel is applied. You might also feel pressure when the blood pressure cuff is inflated to check your blood pressure during the procedure.