Ultrasound – Veins and Arteries (vascular scan) is a scan to assess the arteries or veins in the body. It is also known as a duplex or Doppler scan as it assesses blood flow and looks for areas of narrowing (stenosis) or for blood clots.

It is most commonly performed on the neck arteries (carotid arteries), arms or legs. The sonographer places gel on the skin in the area to be assessed and moves the ultrasound probe over the skin surface. It is common to hear whooshing noises from the machine which is due to the normal signal from flowing blood converted into sound.

Types of scan include:

  • Carotid
    This is a scan to assess the major blood vessels in the neck, the carotid arteries, one on each side of the neck. A series of images will be taken measuring the blood flow to see if there are any areas of narrowing.
  • Leg Veins
    This is a scan to assess the vessels of the legs for blood clots or varicose veins. It involves checking for blood flow and each section of the vein may be compressed by the sonographer. The leg or calf may be gently squeezed to ensure there is blood flow. One or both legs may be scanned.
  • Leg Arteries
    This is to assess the blood flow in the major arteries of the leg to look for areas of narrowing. The aorta and pelvic arteries may also be assessed.
  • AAA
    This is a scan to assess the aorta, the major artery in the abdomen from the heart to the legs. Measurements of the aorta will be taken to see if there is aneursym.

Before your Scan

No preparation required (except AAA, see below).

AAA procedure – Fast 6 hours prior to the scan – see Abdominal Aorta / AAA ultrasound.


30 minutes.

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