Mesenteric Duplex Ultrasound

Including pre and post-prandial (eating) testing if required


  • Abdominal pain and cramping associated with eating
  • Significant, unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhoea of questionable aetiology
  • Abdominal bruit
  • Follow up CTA mesenteric aneurysm
  • Unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Surveillance post vascular revascularisation

Contraindications and limitations:

  • Extreme abdominal girth
  • Excessive abdominal gas
  • Site trauma such as open wounds, surgical wounds/drains, or an abdominal colostomy, in the scanning area
  • Ventilated patients, shortness of breath or rapid breathing may make it difficult to obtain accurate Doppler recordings
  • Patients that cannot be adequately positioned

Patient preparation:

  • 2 days prior to the ultrasound, it is advisable for the patient to refrain from eating fatty foods, fizzy drinks or any foods that create bowel irritability or gas.
  • On the day of the ultrasound, fast from food and water for a minimum of 6 hours, refrain from chewing gum and smoking. If medication is required, this can be taken with a small sip of water. WHY? Gas in the bowel creates acoustic shadowing, on ultrasound imaging. Any vessels that sit in this shadow will not be seen, therefore cannot be assessed.


What to wear:

Loose-fitting clothes, for example; elasticated skirt/pants/shorts and a loose-fitting top

Ultrasound study technique:

Ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic study. The patient will lie on a bed, with the head of the bed slightly elevated for comfort. Ultrasound gel will be applied to the abdomen, just below the xiphisternum (lower chest plate, between the angle of the ribs). An ultrasound probe will be run over the abdomen. Occasionally the sonographer may need to apply pressure to the abdomen to improve visualisation of the arteries, plus ask the patient to hold their breath, periodically, to accurately assess spectral Doppler waveform velocities. Images will be obtained, and the results documented on a worksheet.

If post-prandial assessment is required, of the mesenteric arteries, the above will be repeated at varying time intervals, post prandial, then, the pre-prandial and post-prandial spectral Doppler velocities, recorded, compared, and documented on a worksheet.

Ultrasound study time:

  • 30 -45 minutes
  • PLUS 30-60 minutes EXTRA if post-prandial Doppler flow measurements are required.


A worksheet can be available, if requested. A formal written report will be available within 24 to 48 hours, following the ultrasound examination, Monday to Friday. If the ultrasound findings demonstrate pathology, which may require urgent attention, the referring Doctor will be notified ASAP following the completion of the ultrasound.