Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"How long does it take to get the results from a leg venous doppler?"
I am worried I have a blood clot in my leg. How long will I have to wait before the doctor tells me the results?
Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which some of the larger veins in your body can develop a blood clot. This is most commonly seen in the legs, but can occur in any vein including arms, intestinal veins (e.g. portal vein), etc. There are many reasons for why thrombosis occurs, but primarily there are three events ("Virchow's triad") that can precipitate the event. 1. Venous stasis (meaning decreased blood flow through a vein - for example from sitting on a long trans-atlantic flight causing decreased blood flow in the leg veins). 2. Endothelial damage (any sort of trauma to the leg). 3. Hypercoagulable condition (e.g. clotting disorders, pregnancy, cancer, etc). Since your questions asks about a leg blood clot, that is what I'll focus on from here on out. When a clot forms in the leg, it may cause swelling, redness, increased warmth and pain in the leg (most commonly in the calf). More worrisome is the chance of the clot breaking off and propagating to the central venous circulation and embolizing to the lungs. That is why DVTs are treated with anti-coagulation from 3-6 months (first episode) to lifetime (multiple episodes, or prior history of pulmonary embolism). Diagnosis is achieved by performing a Doppler ultrasound of the legs. The test itself takes 15-30 minutes to perform. The timing of the result depends on who interprets the findings (radiology technician, radiologist, vascular medicine physician, etc). Generally speaking the result should be available within several hours but can take up to a day. It is highly recommended you follow up with your physician regarding the results of this test and possibly need to treat a DVT if one is found. Failure to treat a newly discovered DVT can cause significant complications.
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