St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Doppler ultrasound exam of an arm or leg

    This test uses ultrasound to examine the blood flow in the major arteries and veins in the arms and legs.

    How the Test is Performed

    The test is done in the ultrasound or radiology department or in a peripheral vascular lab.

    A water-soluble gel is placed on a handheld device called a transducer, which directs the high-frequency sound waves to the artery or veins being tested.

    When examining the arteries, the following will also be done:

    Blood pressure cuffs may be put around different parts of the body, including the thigh, calf, ankle, and different points along the arm. A paste is applied to the skin over the arteries being examined. Images are created as the transducer is moved over each area.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    You will need to remove clothing from the arm or leg being examined.

    How the Test Will Feel

    There is little or no discomfort associated with this test.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This test is done as an alternative to arteriography and venography. It may help diagnose:

    • Arteriosclerosis of the arms or legs
    • Blood clot (deep vein thrombosis)
    • Venous insufficiency

    The test may also be used to evaluate injury to the arteries and to monitor arterial reconstruction and bypass grafts.

    Normal Results

    A normal result means the blood vessels show no signs of narrowing or closure, and the arteries have normal blood flow.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Abnormal results may be due to:

    • Blockage in an artery by a blood clot, piece of fat, or an air bubble
    • Blood clot in an artery or vein
    • Narrowing or widening of an artery
    • Spastic arterial disease (arterial contractions brought on by cold or emotion)
    • Venous occlusion (closing of vein)

    Additional conditions under which this test may be performed include:

    • Arteriosclerosis of the extremities
    • Deep venous thrombosis
    • Superficial thrombophlebitis
    • Thromboangiitis obliterans
    • Vascular tumors of the arms or legs


    There are no risks specifically associated with this procedure.


    Cigarette smoking may alter the results of this test, because nicotine can cause the arteries in the extremities to constrict.

    Quitting smoking significantly lowers the risk of problems with the heart and circulatory system. Most smoking-related deaths are caused by cardiovascular problems, not lung cancer.


    • Doppler ultrasonography ...


      • Doppler ultrasonography ...


      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Doppler ultrasound exam of an arm or leg

          Review Date: 6/5/2012

          Reviewed By: Ken Levin, MD, private practice specializing in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Allentown, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

          Back  |  Top
          About Us
          Contact Us
          Locations & Directions
          Quality Reports
          Annual Reports
          Honors & Awards
          Community Health Needs

          Brain & Spine
          Sleep Medicine
          Urgent Care
          Women's Services
          All Services
          Patients & Visitors
          Locations & Directions
          Find a Physician
          Tour St. Luke's
          Patient & Visitor Information
          Contact Us
          Payment Options
          Financial Assistance
          Send a Card
          Mammogram Appointments
          Health Tools
          My Personal Health
          Spirit of Women
          Health Information & Tools
          Clinical Trials
          Employer Programs -
          Passport to Wellness

          Classes & Events
          Classes & Events
          Spirit of Women
          Donate & Volunteer
          Giving Opportunities
          Physicians & Employees
          For Physicians
          Remote Access
          Medical Residency Information
          Pharmacy Residency Information
          Physician CPOE Training
          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
          Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile