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Automatic Dopplers in Community Nursing

In December 2020, following a successful Dragons' Den bid, Head of People Participation, Carl Adams, alongside Community Nurse, Jodie Bland, secured funding to pilot the use of Automatic Dopplers across Southampton Community Nursing.

A doppler is part of a vascular assessment, which helps to guide the treatment of leg ulcers. The doppler provides an Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABPI) reading by comparing the blood pressure between the arm and ankle; this helps the teams to detect or rule-out the presence of peripheral artery disease (narrowed arteries which leads to reduced blood flow). This doppler assessment guides clinical decision making for the optimum treatment for a patient with a leg ulcer.

Leg doppler

Results in record time

Traditionally, the patient would need to lie flat as two nurses who have to use a handheld blood pressure cuff and ultrasound probe; this was a lengthy process. This has led to dopplers not being performed and a lack of confidence from nurses in the procedure.

With the progress in technology, across Southampton Community Nursing we implemented the use of automatic doppler devices. Automatic dopplers only take around ten minutes to complete and the process doesn't require the patient to lie flat. Additionally, one nurse can operate the doppler and there is a visual display of the calculations.

The use of automatic dopplers has seen an increase in the number of doppler assessments, which has led to the optimum treatment as nurses have reported that the simplified process and visual display, gives them greater confidence in making decisions about treatments. Patients have also reacted positively to the new technique, and state that they like the fact they don't need to lie flat and that the whole process is quicker that the traditional method.

Traditional process vs. Automatic Doppler

Despite the fact that the dopplers were only introduced in December 2020, there has been a monthly rise in the use of the technique across Solent services and positive outcomes for patients.


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