Carotid Ultrasound An Overview
A carotid ultrasound is a non-invasive, safe procedure that uses sound waves to analyze the blood flow through the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries move blood from the heart to the brain. A carotid ultrasound can help identify narrowed or blocked arteries. The carotid arteries may narrow due to plaque buildup which may increase a patients’ risk of stroke or other complications.
Why is a carotid ultrasound is performed?
A carotid ultrasound helps your physician assess the amount and speed of blood flow through the carotid arteries to determine the degree of blockage. A carotid ultrasound is performed if you have had a transient ischemic attack or stroke. Your physician may order a carotid ultrasounds to check the arteries for blood clots, plaque buildup, or blood flow problems.
Carotid Ultrasound What to Expect
How To Prepare
Your physician will explain all aspects of the procedure with you to during your evaluation. In most cases, patients will not need to follow any strict preparation requirements before their carotid ultrasound.
What To Expect
During a carotid ultrasound, you will lie on your back for the duration of the testing. You will need to remove any jewelry, clothing, or objects that may interfere with testing. Your technician will apply a small amount of gel on the ultrasound transducer and gently glide it across each side of the neck to obtain images of the arteries. Your technician may ask you to move the head or neck to collect different images of the arteries.
Once the ultrasound is completed, your technician will wipe away any excess gel. Typically a carotid ultrasound takes 30-60 minutes. Your physician will analyze the results from the carotid ultrasound and determine if further testing or treatment is needed.