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Hurricane IKE and the Common Carotid Artery

October 9, 2008
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The massive 200 mile wide Hurricane IKE devastated coastal Texas and caused major damage inland as far as the Great Lakes. Millions of people are still feeling the effects of IKE as they struggle back to normal life. My personal post IKE experience includes; 6 sweltering nights without power, hours waiting in line for gas or entry into the local grocery store and more than 40 hours of volunteering providing aide to others who were completely overcome by the storm. Believe it or not, I also spent a lot of time without power thinking about how I could relate a posting about IKE to the PACS and Digital Imaging Blog. Well here we go…

Doppler Radar in Weather Imaging and Doppler Sonography in Ultrasound Imaging

The Doppler effect (or Doppler shift), named after Christian Doppler, is the change in frequency and wavelength of a wave for an observer moving relative to the source of the waves.

Doppler radar is radar using the doppler effect of the returned echoes from targets to measure their radial velocity. To be more specific the microwave signal sent by the radar antenna's directional beam is reflected toward the radar and compared in frequency, up or down from the original signal, allowing for the direct and highly accurate measurement of target velocity component in the direction of the beam. Doppler radars are used in air defense, air traffic control, sounding satellites, police speed guns, and radiology.

A weather radar is a type of radar used to locate precipitation, calculate its motion, estimate its type (rain, snow, hail, etc.), and forecast its future position and intensity. Modern weather radars are mostly pulse-doppler radars, capable of detecting the motion of rain droplets in addition to intensity of the precipitation. Both types of data can be analyzed to determine the structure of storms and their potential to cause severe weather.

Sonography can be enhanced with Doppler measurements, which employ the Doppler effect to assess whether structures (usually blood) are moving towards or away from the probe, and its relative velocity. By calculating the frequency shift of a particular sample volume, for example a jet of blood flow over a heart valve, its speed and direction can be determined and visualised. This is particularly useful in cardiovascular studies (sonography of the vasculature system and heart) and essential in many areas such as determining reverse blood flow in the liver vasculature in portal hypertension. The Doppler information is displayed graphically using spectral Doppler, or as an image using color Doppler (directional Doppler) or power Doppler (non directional Doppler). This Doppler shift falls in the audible range and is often presented audibly using stereo speakers: this produces a very distinctive, although synthetic, pulsing sound.

- Wikipedia 8/2008

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Marc, last year, a seasoned ED physician shared that he keeps a small doppler diagnostic unit in his emergency room. Although he cannot bill for its use (or probably even talk publicly about it), he can quickly and easily check blood flow all over the body (limbs, abdomen). Obvious to you and me, it's non-invasive and super fast. As you point out, it's miraculous.

Dr. Bormel —

Thank You for your response...I can easily understand why a peripheral / doppler US unit is kept nearby in the ED or Trauma Room. It's good to know that there are still some veterans of the science that take advantage of real-time imaging technology!!!

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