What is a venous duplex?

A venous duplex is a painless, noninvasive test that shows how blood is moving through the veins of your arms and legs. A venous duplex combines two types of ultrasounds to produce images that show how blood is moving through the veins of your arms and legs. Your physician is able to see the speed and direction of your blood flow and where your blood flow may be blocked. This test is commonly used to search for blood clots and to examine varicose veins.

The ultrasounds used during this procedure are:

  • B mode ultrasound – High-frequency sound waves create pictures of the veins within your arms and legs.
  • Doppler ultrasound – High-frequency sound waves determine the speed and direction of blood flow in the veins and arteries.

A venous duplex is used to:

  • Search for deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
  • Examine varicose veins (veins with an unusual pooling of blood)
  • Determine the cause of leg swelling
  • Locate and map veins to assist with the placement of a needle or catheter, or for surgery
  • Examine blood vessel grafts used for dialysis

Why choose Ohio State for venous duplex?

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's vascular lab offers more advanced testing than most other hospitals in Ohio. We are accredited by ICAVL (Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories) and are actively involved in clinical research for vascular disease.

With nine experienced vascular sonographers on staff, we offer extensive testing, including:

  • Arterial duplex imaging
  • Visceral duplex
  • Aortic duplex (and aortic duplex after endovascular aneurysm repair)

What to expect during a venous duplex

Preparing for your procedure

Generally, there are no special instructions that you need to follow before a venous duplex.

During your procedure

A venous duplex is performed in the ultrasound or radiology department. You will be asked to lie still on a table with your head slightly elevated. The technician will apply a gel to the area of your body being examined. A transducer (ultrasound probe) is moved gently over the area being tested. This test takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

After your procedure

There are no special instructions to follow after a venous duplex. You can immediately resume all of your normal activities.

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