Duplex scan arterial?

As someone once said, “there’s nothing more important than good circulation!” Well, okay. Maybe a few things are sometimes but having healthy arteries and veins definitely ranks high up there on the list of priorities. A duplex scan arterial is one way we can check if everything is in tip-top shape with our circulatory system. In this article, I’ll be breaking down what exactly a duplex scan arterial is and why you might need one.

What is a Duplex Scan Arterial?

Let’s start at the beginning: what even IS a duplex scan arterial test? Essentially, it’s an imaging procedure that combines two types of ultrasound techniques to examine your arteries and blood flow. These techniques include:

  • Doppler ultrasound: which uses sound waves to measure how fast blood flows through your vessels
  • Traditional ultrasound: which creates images of the inside of your arteries using sound waves

The combination of these two methods allows doctors or technicians performing the test to see both where blockages might exist within your arteries AND how fast blood is moving through those areas.

Why Would You Need This Type Of Ultrasound?

While any number of conditions could prompt someone to get an abdominal or pelvic duplex scan (a different type altogether), specifically talking about its use in scanning arterials – reasons for such scans most likely point towards detection/treatment/observation surrounding some form or degree of peripheral artery disease aka PAD (not something you want). Here are just some potential warning signs/symptoms that may lead a doctor recommending or ordering such tests:

  • Changes in skin color/appearance esp. legs & feet
  • Unusual leg cramps/pain/jammed muscles
  • Hair loss on legs/feet/toes (no style points determined yet)
  • Varicose/spider vein appearance [but do you really care?]
  • Discolor/skin dryness around toes/feet
  • Noticeably weak pulse spots in legs (sounds like a dying computer or faint heart)

What’s The Procedure Like?

So, let’s say your doctor has decided that a duplex scan arterial is the way to go. You might be wondering what exactly you’re getting into (aside from an imaging room).

First thing imaged – Your legs. (not your mind even though the first thought in mine was “Why so curious about my gorgeous brains?”) This helps determine where circulation problems may exist.

The technician will start by placing clear gel onto the area of skin where they need to look at blood flow inside arteries leading down towards feet and/or ankles. Then, they’ll use either a handheld probe/machine wand which radiates radio waves through said designated spot(s) moving it along different positions (just hold still please..) As all this going on/around passes on by, an image appears revealing relative velocity /clarity/how slow-motion-esque or not areas examined are contributing blood/harmfully obstructing it.

When everything meets standard expectations and no issues present themselves, approximately thirty minutes Top-to-bottom (T2B) constitutes prep time/testing – per leg!

Risks And Benefits Of Getting A Duplex Scan Arterial

As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and benefits to consider when deciding whether or not a duplex scan arterial test is right for you. Here’s what some know-how tidbits for each side:


  • Allergic reaction: Rarely but possible due to contact w/gel applied during examination
  • Blood clot: Not from Test but slight possibility if existing PAD undetected until later


  • Non-invasive/well-tolerated (let us NOT dwell on exceptions)
  • Accurate diagnosis (always preferential in all areas of life)
  • PINPOINT the exact location/nature of any arterial abnormalities
  • Ability to identify issue(s) before presenting visible physical symptoms (“it never hurts to know, until it hurts too much”)

Final Thoughts On Duplex Scan Arterials

In conclusion, understanding what a duplex scan arterial is and how it works can give you greater insight into your own health. Whether you’re already experiencing some warning signs or just want peace of mind that everything’s working as it should be, talking with your doctor about getting one may be a good next step.

Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll all have home versions of these tests so we can do them while Netflixing… (not yet approved by anyone for legal/effective purposes but who says dreams don’t come true (sometimes))

Until then — make sure those vascular pumpkins are sufficiently serviced via proper pedal positioning/regular exercise and toe-tapping/treatment when necessary..

Random Posts