Table of contents:
- What is it for
- How it's done
- Exam preparation
- What are the types of echodoppler
- Main diagnosed diseases
Echo Doppler is a type of ultrasound, with specific techniques, that allows the color visualization of blood flow in the arteries and veins of the body, helping to verify the functioning of tissues, such as the walls of the heart, nerves and brain.
It is a non-invasive type of exam, that is, it does not use needles and does not need anesthesia to be performed, and it is performed by a radiologist, who will pass a transducer with gel, which is a small part of the ultrasound device, at the site of the body to be examined.
Using echo-Doppler can diagnose various diseases such as atherosclerosis, vasculitis and aneurysms, so it is often indicated by the cardiologist or neurologist.However, this exam is also indicated by obstetricians in order to check the baby's he alth conditions during pregnancy.
What is it for
Echo Doppler is a type of ultrasound used to check blood flow in veins and arteries, heart, brain and even lower limbs. Thus, this exam can be indicated for the following situations:
- Detect obstructions by fat in arteries or veins;
- Locate blood clots in arm or leg veins;
- Check if there is any dilation of the walls of veins or arteries;
- Analyze the results of heart surgeries;
- Evaluate the characteristics of varicose veins.
In addition, ecodoppler can also help to check the blood pressure inside the arteries, showing the amount of blood flowing in the blood vessels and can be done as an alternative to other more invasive tests, such as angiography, which involves injection of contrast into the vein.
This exam can also be performed in children and is usually recommended by the pediatrician to assess whether there is any malformation in the heart or to assist in the placement of a central venous catheter. See more what a central venous catheter is and in which cases it is indicated.
How it's done
The echo-doppler exam is performed by a radiologist in a room of a unit, or diagnostic center, and does not require anesthesia or contrast in the vein, in addition to not using any type of radiation.
To take the exam it is necessary for the person to put on an apron and lie on a stretcher. Then the doctor will apply a gel and move a transducer through the skin, which is a small device with which it will be possible to visualize the internal parts of the body, such as veins and arteries. This causes no pain or discomfort.
The doctor will visualize the images on a computer screen and analyze the structures of the body, and after a few days, a report will be issued with the description of what was found in the exam and this report must be delivered to the doctor who requested it.
In most cases, no specific care is needed to perform the exam, however, people who use drugs that alter blood pressure or who smoke should inform the doctor who will perform the exam, as these situations can increase blood flow in the body's veins and arteries.
What are the types of echodoppler
Depending on the part or structure of the body that the doctor wants to be analyzed, the exam can be:
- Fetal echodoppler: performed during pregnancy, consists of cardiac assessment of the baby;
- Ecodoppler of the lower limbs: used to analyze veins and arteries of the legs;
- Ecodoppler of the upper limbs: consists of checking the condition of the veins and arteries of the arms;
- Carotid Doppler: indicated to check the vein that supplies blood to the head region;
- Renal artery Doppler ultrasound: recommended for analysis of veins and arteries of the kidneys;
- Transcranial Doppler: recommended for evaluating the veins and arteries of the brain;
- Thyroid Doppler: is the type used to check blood flow in the thyroid.
These specific types of echo Doppler may be requested when consulting with a cardiovascular physician or neurologist, but they may also be indicated for people who are admitted to a hospital with suspected disease or alteration.
Main diagnosed diseases
Echodoppler, or Doppler ultrasound, may be indicated by a cardiovascular physician, neurologist or nephrologist to investigate and diagnose some diseases such as:
Atherosclerosis is a disease that occurs due to the accumulation of fatty plaques, or atheromas, in the part of the arteries of the heart and that, if left untreated, can block the flow of blood and lead to the appearance of serious complications such as a heart attack. myocardial infarction and stroke.
Echo Doppler is a type of exam widely used to investigate this disease, however, the cardiologist may request other exams such as angiography and cardiac catheterization. After diagnosing this change, the doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment that is based on changes in habits and medication. See more other treatment options for atherosclerosis.
Vasculitis is a condition caused by inflammation of the blood vessels in the body and can cause symptoms such as red spots on the skin, tingling or loss of sensation in the hands or feet, joint pain and fever. This disease can be caused by other conditions such as infections, autoimmune diseases and cancer and, in some cases, lead to complications such as bleeding.
The rheumatologist should be consulted in case of suspicion of vasculitis, and he may indicate the performance of echo Doppler to confirm the diagnosis.The treatment of this disease is recommended by the doctor according to the severity and location of the inflammation of the blood vessels. Check out other tests that can be done to confirm the diagnosis of vasculitis and which treatment.
Aneurysms can arise due to an increase in pressure with which blood passes through a blood vessel, which leads to the formation of a dilation of the vein or artery wall. This dilation can occur in blood vessels in the heart, brain or parts of the body, such as the abdominal aorta, for example.
Symptoms depend on the location of the aneurysm, and people who suffer from this change may have severe pain at the site, difficulty walking, tingling in the head, blurred vision and even seizures and should seek emergency care from a hospital. Check out more the main symptoms of cerebral and aortic aneurysm.
4. Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis is a condition that occurs due to an obstruction of a deep vein in the leg, thigh or abdomen, compromising the flow of blood and, in most cases, causing swelling, intense pain and purplish discoloration in the leg, for example.
Some risk factors are related to the onset of deep vein thrombosis, such as cancer, major surgery, use of oral contraceptives and little body movement, and the diagnosis is made by performing an echo-doppler. Hospitalization is often necessary for the treatment of this alteration, which is based on the use of anticoagulant drugs, such as heparin. Learn how to prevent leg thrombosis.
5. Renal artery stenosis
Renal artery stenosis is defined as the narrowing of the main artery of the kidneys due to fatty plaques, blood clot or tumor and the diagnosis of this alteration is made through tests such as angiography and renal ultrasound.
The treatment of renal artery stenosis is indicated by the nephrologist and consists of catheterization, surgery and the use of anticoagulant and thrombolytic drugs. Often, this treatment must be done with the person hospitalized so that they receive the medication by vein and should be started as soon as possible to avoid complications such as pulmonary edema.