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What Does a Carotid Ultrasound Do?

At Buckeye Heart and Vascular Institute, your vascular specialist in Dayton, OH, we offer a variety of diagnostic tests to help diagnose problems with cardiovascular disease. A carotid ultrasound is just one of the services we offer. But what is a carotid ultrasound and how can it help you?

vascular specialist in dayton, ohio

What is a Carotid Ultrasound?

A carotid ultrasound is a completely non-invasive procedure that’s one of our diagnostic tests. It utilizes sound waves to take a look at and analyze the blood flow throughout the carotid arteries. These arteries are crucial because they take blood from the heart to your brain. The ultrasound can help your Dayton, OH vascular specialist determine if your carotid arteries are narrow or have a blockage.

When is a Carotid Ultrasound Performed?

A carotid ultrasound is definitely performed if you experience an ischemic attack or stroke.  Your physician may also push for one if there’s reason to suspect that you have a blockage in the carotid arteries. They want to check and make sure these arteries don’t contain blood clots, plaque buildup, or any other problems you’re having with blood flow.

Have you experienced any of the following conditions or symptoms? These are all indications that will probably lead your physician to recommend getting this test:

  • High blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Sudden vision problems or dizziness
  • Issues with speaking
  • Facial drooping
  • A recent stroke
  • Severe headaches
  • Sudden weakness or numbness in your face, arms, or legs
  • Diabetes
  • A family history of heart disease
  • Strange sound in your carotid arteries
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Any medical conditions that increase your risk of stroke

If you know that you have any of these, make sure you’re bringing them to the attention of your physician. These things are serious and a carotid ultrasound is necessary so that we can see what we’re dealing with in terms of a blockage.

What to Expect From a Carotid Ultrasound

Before any diagnostic testing, we’ll have a consultation to talk about the issues you’re having and give you the full details of your upcoming procedure. Since this is a non-invasive procedure, you won’t have to do anything excessive to prepare for a carotid ultrasound. The ultrasound will be completely painless.

Before your ultrasound, you’ll have to remove any clothing or jewelry that might interfere with the ultrasound. You lie on your back throughout the entire procedure. For doing an ultrasound on your carotid arteries, your ultrasound technician will need access to your neck. A small bit of gel is put on the ultrasound transducer. It’s glided along your neck so that your physician can get images of your arteries.

This ultrasound process takes about half an hour to an hour. You may be asked to move your head and neck around so that images can be taken of various angles of your arteries. When the ultrasound is over, the excess gel that’s left on your skin will be wiped away. The images are then sent to your physician for review. This helps to determine if further testing or treatment is needed.

Your Dayton, Ohio Vascular Specialist

We want to make sure we catch any blockages or narrowing of your carotid arteries. Call us or schedule a consultation online.