Abdominal Duplex Ultrasound | Tampa General Hospital

Abdominal Duplex Ultrasound 

Abdominal duplex ultrasound uses sound waves to create detailed images of blood vessels and other structures in the abdomen. 

An abdominal duplex ultrasound examination is a diagnostic test that can help a physician visualize and evaluate the flow of blood through arteries and veins in the abdomen. The test incorporates a combination of traditional ultrasound, which uses sound waves that bounce off blood vessels to create real-time images, and Doppler ultrasound, which records sounds waves as they reflect from moving blood cells, allowing the physician to assess the speed and direction of blood flow. 

An abdominal duplex ultrasound test may involve: 

  • An abdominal aortic ultrasound – Performed to investigate a suspected aortic aneurysm 
  • A renal artery ultrasound – Performed to evaluate a suspected narrowing or blockage in a blood vessel that supplies the kidneys  
  • A mesenteric artery ultrasound – Performed to evaluate a suspected narrowing or blockage in the celiac artery, the superior mesenteric artery or the aorta 

    Conditions Diagnosed 

    A physician may order an abdominal duplex ultrasound test to investigate a suspected blockage in—or weakened area of—a blood vessel, or to assess the flow of blood within various structures in the abdomen. 

    Procedure Details 

    Usually, an abdominal duplex ultrasound examination is performed in the early morning after the patient has fasted overnight. While the patient lies on an examination table with his or her head slightly raised, a technician will apply a clear gel to the patient’s abdomen. Next, the technician will gently press a handheld transducer against the patient’s skin, moving it back and forth to generate high-frequency sound waves and capture the echoes. The transducer will send the echoed sound waves to a computer, which will translate them into image format and display the resulting images on a nearby video screen.  

    What to Expect 

    Some patients experience mild discomfort from the pressure applied during an abdominal duplex ultrasound examination, but most do not find the exam to be painful. The test has no risks or side effects, and the patient can usually go home as soon as it is complete. 


    Abdominal duplex ultrasound is a noninvasive test that provides valuable information about the structure of arteries and veins in the abdomen as well as the velocity of the blood flowing through them. The results can help a vascular surgeon make an accurate diagnosis and outline an appropriate treatment plan. 

    In Tampa General Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute, our patients can benefit from the latest specialty diagnostic procedures, including abdominal duplex ultrasound, in a welcoming and convenient setting.