The 5 Types of Doppler Ultrasound

January 04 2021

Screen of a Doppler ultrasound machine

Each of the five types of Doppler ultrasound has different capabilities. All of them operate in conjunction with the Doppler effect, which refers to the way wave frequency responds as the wave source moves towards or away from an object or person.

For instance, when an object producing sound moves towards you, the frequency of the sound waves increases, resulting in a higher-pitched sound. All of the various types of Doppler ultrasound use this principle because they all detect movement in tissues and bodily fluids by monitoring the changing frequency of sound waves.

Doppler ultrasound offers a quick, non-invasive way to study the heart and blood vessels. This technology can be used for a wide variety of applications that range across an entire spectrum of healthcare specialties.

Learn more about the different types of Doppler ultrasound below.

Types of Doppler Ultrasound

Doppler ultrasound tests are non-invasive, risk-free examinations that provide an inside look at a patient’s blood flow. The transducer emits high-frequency sound waves that bounce off of circulating red blood cells. This movement is captured and shown in a visual format that is easy to comprehend.

By finding the velocity of a patient’s blood flow, healthcare professionals can assess the condition of arteries, blood vessels, veins, and more. Here are the 5 types of Doppler ultrasound:

1. Color Flow Doppler

Color flow Doppler converts Doppler pulses into colors. These colors are overlaid onto the image of the blood vessel. This color encoded display creates a visual of the speed and direction of blood flow through the vessel.

Many practices utilize color flow Doppler for a variety of vascular studies.

2. Continuous Wave Doppler

Continuous wave Doppler uses continuous transmission and reception of ultrasound waves. To do this, a continuous wave Doppler has a transducer with two crystals, one dedicated to sending echoes, and the other to receiving them.

This technology is also known as “bedside” Doppler because it can be accomplished with a portable machine at the patient’s beside. Continuous wave Doppler is not site-specific, but it can measure high velocities.

3. Pulsed Wave Doppler

Pulsed wave Doppler shows the power or amplitude of sound signals rather than a shift in frequency. This system sends out short pulses of ultrasound waves and analyzes reflected sound waves between pulses. Unlike other types of Doppler ultrasound, this option does not show speed or direction.

Pulsed wave Doppler presents information as both an audio signal and in a video and hard copy format.

4. Power Doppler

Power Doppler is a type of color Doppler. Most professionals use power Doppler to look at blood flow through vessels that are inside solid organs. This power Doppler technology makes it possible to access certain images that would’ve been impossible to get with traditional types of Doppler ultrasound.

Power Doppler is also known as “angio”, which is short for ultrasound angiography.

5. Duplex Ultrasound

Duplex ultrasound combines 2-Dimensional (B-mode) and Doppler ultrasound modes. A duplex ultrasound test will provide a color picture that shows blood flow, as well as a two-dimensional greyscale ultrasound image of the tissues.

Other types of Doppler ultrasound only provide the color picture, but not the greyscale image.

Four color Doppler image showing deep vein thrombosis

Purchasing the Right Ultrasound Equipment

Finding the right ultrasound machine for your practice is critical. You’ll want to ensure that it has all of the capabilities you need to provide the best possible care for your patients.

If you’re in need of a Doppler ultrasound machine, compare your options with UltrasoundQuotes. We offer free pricing and information on a huge variety of equipment nationwide.

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Compare Ultrasound Equipment & Find the Perfect Fit for Your Practice.