Abdominal Duplex Ultrasound | MedStar Health

Assessing blood flow in the abdominal arteries and veins

A duplex ultrasound combines a traditional ultrasound, which uses sound waves that bounce off blood vessels to create an image, and Doppler ultrasound, which records sound waves that bounce off moving objects, such as blood, to measure speed and flow.

Your doctor may recommend an abdominal duplex ultrasound if they suspect you have a blockage or a bulging, weak area (aneurysm) in a blood vessel. They may have heard an unusual sound or felt a pulsating mass during a physical exam. These tests also may be used to prepare for a surgical procedure.

What to expect during an abdominal duplex ultrasound

There is little to no preparation needed for this test. Your doctor may ask that you not eat or drink for a certain amount of time before the exam.

You will lie down on a table and you’ll need to remain still. A technician will spread gel over the area of your belly being tested. The gel helps transmit the sound waves to the ultrasound wand, which the technician will move over your belly. A computer will turn the sound waves into images, and the Doppler will create the “swishing” sound of your blood.

You may feel some pressure from the wand, but you should not experience any pain or discomfort. The test usually takes 30 minutes to an hour. A standard abdominal duplex ultrasound has no side effects or risks. Afterward, your doctor will review the results and discuss with you what the images showed.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm treatments

Abdominal aortic aneurysm treatments include monitoring, medication, or surgery to place a graft that reduces pressure on the walls of the aorta where the aneurysm exists.

Endovascular complex repair of thoracoabdominal aneurysms  

Endovascular complex repair of thoracoabdominal aneurysms is a minimally invasive treatment that involves smaller incisions, less pain, and faster recovery than traditional open surgery for these aneurysms, which often can be difficult to treat.

Endovascular repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms  

Endovascular repair of a thoracic aortic aneurysm is a catheter-based procedure to place a stent within the aorta to support weakened tissue.

Fenestrated aortic aneurysm repair  

Fenestrated aortic aneurysm repair is a procedure using custom stents to treat aneurysms that affect multiple branches of the aorta.

Our providers

Dr Brian Case listens to the heart of a patient during an office visit at MedStar Health. Both people are wearing masks.

Expert cardiology care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our cardiologists.

Additional information

Vascular and endovascular program

Partner with a recognized leader in offering care, ranging from straightforward vascular disease to the most complex vascular disorders.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net. If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.