Carotid Ultrasound An Overview
A carotid ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless, and 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 carotid ultrasounds to check the arteries for blood clots, plaque buildup, or blood flow problems. Other common reasons your doctor may recommend a carotid ultrasound include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Trouble speaking
- Sudden vision problems
- Medical conditions that increase the risk of stroke
- Family history of heart disease
- Severe headaches
- Recent stroke
- Facial drooping
- Abnormal sound in carotid arteries
- Coronary artery disease
- Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs