Vascular Testing Frequently Asked Questions

Where will I be seen?

If you are an inpatient, you will be seen by a member of the team on the ward with a portable scanning device. You may be asked to attend our department at gate 5a but this will be communicated to you and you will be transferred by the hospital portering service.

If you are sent an outpatient appointment letter, it will advise you on the outpatient setting that you should attend and how to check in for your appointment. 

Once checked in, you will come to our dedicated vascular testing waiting room. Here there are toilets, including disabled facilities next to the waiting room.


For your appointment, you will be taken to one of the ultrasound rooms where it will be explained to you what investigation is going to be performed. Depending on the type of investigation you will be advised as to what clothing or jewellery needs to be removed. You may be asked to lie/sit on the couch or stand next to it. If you find a particular position uncomfortable, please let us know so we can adapt the scanning position to make you more comfortable.

The vascular scientist or technician will put ultrasound gel on the area to be examined and will place a soft-faced transducer or probe, which is attached to the ultrasound machine, on your skin to create the ultrasound images or sounds as required so that a diagnosis can be made.

Occasionally there may be medical or other students observing.  All staff present will be introduced to you and you will be asked if you mind students being present during the investigation. If you prefer not to have students observing, it is fine to tell the examiner and it will not affect your treatment in any way.

How long does the test take?

The type of test and how long it will approximately take will be indicated in your appointment letter.

Your visit to Vascular Testing could take anything from 15 minutes for a simple Doppler test up to 90 minutes for a full scan of both legs. If you require more details, please contact us.

Are there are special preparations?

Minimal patient preparations are required for the test. You can eat, drink and take medication as normal, however, if you are coming for a Duplex scan of your legs or abdomen you may want to have a light breakfast or lunch and avoid fizzy drinks.  

If you are diabetic, please ensure you bring your medication, food or money to purchase food in case of delays.

Will I need to undress?

An ultrasound needs direct contact with the skin. You will be asked to remove specific items of clothing or jewellery so we can get clear access to your skin in the areas where the investigation needs to be performed. It is recommended that you wear something comfortable which is easy to take on and off. The vascular scientist or a support worker can help you if you have any difficulty.

The dignity and privacy of our patients is of the utmost importance and the examination will be performed in a private scanning room. You will be given a towel if you are asked to remove an item of clothing.  If you would specifically prefer a male or female member of staff, please let us know, preferably by contacting us prior to your appointment.

Can I bring someone with me?

There is room in the scanning room for one friend or relative if you require additional support during the scan. 

I have dressings – will you change them?

We are unable to redress any leg wounds or ulcers. Please arrange with your health centre to have any dressings reapplied or changed at a convenient time after your appointment.

Will it hurt?

No, for a vascular ultrasound scan there are no injections, no needles and no chemicals or x-rays. Depending on how deep the blood vessels are the vascular scientist or technician may need to press quite firmly and this can sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable but they will do their very best to keep any discomfort to a minimum.

The worst part of the scan for most people is the gel and that is because it’s cold. The gel will be wiped off after the test, it is water-based and does not stain clothing.

Is the test safe?

Vascular ultrasound tests are safe and non-invasive (no injections).

Do I have to go in a tunnel?

No, there are no tunnels or confined spaces involved.

Can I drive afterwards?

Yes – unless you have been told by your doctor not to because of your condition.

When will I receive the result?

At the end of the scan, if you would like to know the findings, we can discuss the scan with you and will try to answer any questions you may have.  

We cannot tell you what your treatment will be as this is a discussion between you and the referring doctor however we can try and answer any questions you may have regarding the different types available.

We cannot discuss any potential treatment options as this will be a discussion between you and the referring doctor.

The test result will be communicated to the referrer and the result will be available to view on the hospital reporting systems within 24 hours.

Who will book my hospital transport?

We do not book hospital transport but please call the vascular testing administration team if you will be booking transport as we may need to rearrange your appointment time. This is to avoid late return journeys home which cannot be guaranteed if your appointment is after 2pm. The vascular testing administration telephone number can be found in your appointment letter.

If you are attending on transport please bring regular daytime medication, food or money to purchase food should there be any delays.

If you require hospital transport this must be arranged by you but remember to call and let us know. The number for transport is in your letter.

Contact Vascular Testing

Gate 5a 
Brunel building 
outhmead Hospital
BS10 5NB         

Telephone: 0117 4140851

Vascular Testing Frequently Asked Questions