What is Tissue Doppler Imaging?

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  • Written By: Larry Ray Palmer
  • Edited By: Amanda L. Wardle
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2019
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Tissue Doppler imaging is a non-invasive medical ultrasound method. Using this method, medical professionals can assess the internal structures of the body without the need for costly and dangerous invasive procedures. High frequency sound is used to form a picture of various tissues in the body using the Doppler effect. In tissue Doppler imaging, a high frequency sound beam is directed into the body. Sound waves are reflected back to the receiver as they hit solid tissue; diagnostic pictures can then be formed based upon the length of time it took for the sound to be bounced back.

The equipment used for tissue Doppler imaging is fairly simple. It consists of a handheld transceiver that sends and receives high frequency sound waves and a monitor to display the resulting picture. A processing unit reads the feedback from the transceiver and displays it on the monitor. This unit may also be connected to a printer to save a hard copy of the test results.


The testing procedure is performed by applying a gel to the skin to assist with the transmission of sound waves. The transceiver is then applied to this gel, which is a conduit for sound waves that travel through the gel and into the body. The technician moves the transceiver around to achieve a full picture of the tissue being inspected. By saving the picture at various points throughout the inspection, a complete view of tissue structures can be obtained. Lab technicians can read these images; images may also be printed and added to a patient's medical file.

One of the most common uses of tissue Doppler imaging is echocardiography, in which the technology is used to view the heart. The tissue Doppler imaging can even determine the direction and rate of blood flow through the heart. To achieve accurate measurements of direction and velocity, the ultrasound beam must be kept almost parallel to the flow of blood in the body.

This ultrasound method of cardiovascular testing is generally preferred because it does not inflict as much stress to the patient's body as do other, more invasive methods. Using the tissue Doppler imaging process, patients can be examined in an outpatient clinic rather than being hospitalized for dangerous invasive procedures. In addition to offering these advantages, the use of tissue Doppler imaging is also much more cost effective than invasive testing procedures.



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