What is a Doppler scan?
A doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive test that is used to measure the blood flow through the umbilical cord and to the different parts of the baby’s body like his brain and heart. The test shows if he is getting all the oxygen and nutrients he needs via the placenta.
Regular ultrasounds uses sound waves to produce images but they can’t show blood flow.
Doppler gives doctors an idea about visual or audible representation of blood movement through veins, arteries and blood vessels with sound waves.
It is conducted through handheld device called transducer.
There are three main types of Doppler Ultrasound: continuous, duplex and color.
- Continuous Doppler Ultrasound
It is also known as Bedside ultrasound. Doctor uses small, portable unit to listen the reflected sounds. The sound waves are audible diagnostic tool as blocked blood vessels make a certain sound as do narrowed and open blood vessels. It is used for a quick diagnosis of potential restrictions in blood flow.
- Duplex Doppler Ultrasound
Along with the sound waves, it produces a visual picture. The dynamism of sound waves make blood vessels to create an image. The sounds are also used to convert the graphs using a computer program to evaluate the direction of blood flow and the speed at which blood is moving.
- Color Doppler Ultrasound
It is similar to duplex doppler ultrasound. Here instead of sound being converted into a graph, a color picture of blood flow speed and movement is created from the sounds.
Power doppler ultrasound : Power doppler comes under color doppler ultrasound. It penetrate organs to look close at what’s going on with blood flow inside the organ. The final image includes a color overlay showing blood speed and direction.
The expecting parents go for scans as they think its their only way to see their little one before the delivery. But for doctors , these scans can determine lot of things regarding health of baby and mother.
- It helps in confirming formal heartbeat.
- It tells about the progress of the pregnancy.
- It checks the status of the umbilical cord.
- It also checks the status of the placenta. As placenta supplies all the nutrients to the baby.
- It tells the position of the baby in the womb. And looking after the position doctor can determine the delivery date.
- It determines the health of the mother.Also any issues or complications like clots or cysts in the mother that can cause problems before or during labour.
- It can tell the general development of the baby in terms of length and weight.
How does doppler test work?
Doppler test during pregnancy is just like normal scan. Sonographer rubs gel over tummy and moves hand held device called transducer probe over the skin.
The ultrasound machine emits high frequency sound waves to the body through this transducer probe. Waves travel to varying lengths inside the body and get reflected back. The reflecting waves are caught by the probe and it is sent back to the machine.
Machine computes data and converts it into a relay of what exactly is happening inside womb. It can also convert that video into an image.
Image looks the same one that more like baby’s first photo.
Why doppler test during pregnancy?
Doctor advice to go for Doppler ultrasound during pregnancy to check foetal umbilical blood flow, placental blood flow and blood flow in the heart and brain. Using the result, doctors determine if restricted blood flow due to sickle cell anaemia, RH sensitisation or restricted blood vessels is to blame for foetal abnormalities.
Restricted blood flow to the foetus could cause:
- Lower birth weight
- Reduced size
- Impaired development
If sickle cell anaemia is diagnosed, child may undergo a special form of Doppler ultrasound known as the transcranial Doppler to evaluate the risk of stroke.
Some more reasons are:
- Mother is suffering from diabetes or high bold pressure. This can cause issues in blood flow to the baby.
- Mother is carrying twins or more.
- Mother is smoker. Smoking causes blood flow slow to the thinning of blood vessels due to Nicotine. Also apart from the carbon monoxide present in the cigarette, smoke impairs the ability of blood cells to carry oxygen.
- Mother has suffered a miscarriage before.
- High or low BMI as the time of conception.
Benefits of Doppler Test in pregnancy
It helps in identifying pregnancy problems non-invasively. It is more reliable than traditional ultrasound procedure. The f an unborn baby can be heard in the early stage around 12 weeks pregnant. Doctors observe and monitor foetal development much earlier than other technologies. This test can also be conducted if pregnant women suspect that their baby's heart has begun beating earliest by the 5th week of pregnancy.
This scan assures assures healthy pregnancy. Also the high-risk pregnancies due to low amniotic fluid levels, Rh-incompatibility or twins sharing the same placenta.
These scans are extremely necessary to determine that baby is at the best of health and is not having any problems related to blood flow.
Input By CA (Dr.) Ruchi Gupta, CEO & Founder 3Hcare
The pancreas is an organ that is located in the abdominal region of a human body and is a part of the digestive system of the body. It is situated in the upper left of the abdomen behind the stomach. The pancreas is about 6 inches in length.
Pancreas has 2 main functions à It helps the body digest food and it helps regulate blood sugar.
More than 95% of the pancreas’ mass is made up of cells and tissues that produce pancreatic juices containing digestive enzymes such as amylase, lipase, elastase, and nucleases.
Cluster of cells called “Islets of Langerhans” releases insulin, glucagon, and other hormones directly into the blood stream and helps in controlling blood sugar.
Pancreas performs a very important function that is crucial to the daily smooth functioning of the human body – digestion of food. Unhealthy or abnormally functioning pancreas results in a number of health conditions depending on its severity and the part affected. Some diseases related to pancreas are listed below:
1. Acute pancreatitis: In this condition, the pancreatic enzymes secreted by the organ accumulate in the organ and starts digesting the organ itself. The pancreas becomes inflamed and there is a severe bout of pain sensations that last days. The organ is swollen and the tissue lining gets eroded. This condition also has a tendency to progress over time. The most common causes are gallstones and alcohol.
2. Chronic pancreatitis: It is caused by permanent damage to the gland. Patients will develop recurrent episodes of pain and can have fatty stools (steatorrhea).
3. Diabetes – type 1: When the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are affected, the body requires external injections to fulfil its insulin requirement.
4. Diabetes – type 2: The pancreas is affected in a way that it is no longer able to adequately produce and release insulin into the body. As a result of this, the body becomes resistant to insulin and thus, gives rise to abnormal blood sugar levels in the body.
5. Cystic fibrosis: It is a genetic disorder that affects multiple body systems together, more commonly pancreas and the lungs. This gives rise to digestive problems and may lead to diabetes.
6. Pancreatic pseudo cyst: After the body has suffered an episode of pancreatitis, a cavity filled with fluid may form. This cavity is known as a pseudo cyst. Pseudo cysts may dissolve on their own over time or sometimes may require surgery for removal.
7. Pancreatic cancer: These patients usually develop pain abdomen, jaundice and weight loss. The tumour variant depends on the type of cell affected (Insulinoma / Glucagonoma/Adenocarcinoma)
Diagnosis of pancreatic diseases depends on
3.Blood investigations – Amylase / Lipase / Blood sugars etc.
4.Stool examination for fat malabsorption / Stool elastase
Treatment of pancreatic diseases depends on the problem and options include
a. Replacement of pancreatic enzymes in chronic pancreatitis
b. Insulin / OHAs (Oral hypoglycaemic agents)
a. Clearance of stone
b. Stenting to clear jaundice in patients with pancreatic cancers
c. Pseudo cyst drainage in patients with pancreatic pseudo cyst
d. Necrosectomy (removal of dead tissue) in patients with acute pancreatitis and necrosis
a. For pseudo cyst drainage or necrosis
b. For pancreatic cancers
c. For chronic pancreatitis
“Pancreatic cancer is a common and severe problem arising out of unhealthy pancreas. In many cases the problem is hereditary in nature, smoking and alcohol consumption increases the risk for development of pancreatic cancers. There are no significant symptoms or signs that the body shows to diagnose these problems early, usually these patients present when the disease is advanced. Hence it is important to keep those risk factors in check that may be responsible for causing these problems “
Inputs By Dr. Bharath Kumar. C, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road