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Carotid duplex

Scan - carotid duplex; Carotid ultrasound; Carotid artery ultrasound; Ultrasound - carotid; Vascular ultrasound - carotid; Ultrasound - vascular - carotid

 

Carotid duplex is an ultrasound test that shows how well blood is flowing through the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are located in the neck. They supply blood directly to the brain.

How the Test is Performed

 

Ultrasound is a painless method that uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. The test is done in a vascular lab or radiology department.

The test is done in the following way:

  • You lie on your back. Your head is supported to keep it from moving. The ultrasound technician applies a water-based gel to your neck to help with the transmission of the sound waves.
  • Next, the technician moves a wand called a transducer back and forth over the area.
  • The device sends sound waves to the arteries in your neck. The sound waves bounce off the blood vessels and form images or pictures of the insides of the arteries.

 

How to Prepare for the Test

 

No preparation is necessary.

 

How the Test will Feel

 

You may feel some pressure as the transducer is moved around your neck. The pressure should not cause any pain. You may also hear a "whooshing" sound. This is normal.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

This test checks blood flow in the carotid arteries. It can detect:

  • Blood clotting (thrombosis)
  • Narrowing in the arteries (stenosis)
  • Other causes of blockage in the carotid arteries

Your doctor may order this test if:

  • You have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • You need a follow-up test because your carotid artery was found to be narrowed in the past or you have had surgery on the artery
  • Your doctor hears an abnormal sound called a bruit over the carotid neck arteries. This may mean the artery is narrowed.

 

Normal Results

 

The results will tell your doctor how open or narrowed your carotid arteries are. For example, the arteries may be 10% narrowed, 50% narrowed, or 75% narrowed.

A normal result means there is no problem with the blood flow in the carotid arteries. The artery is free of any significant blockage, narrowing, or other problem.

 

What Abnormal Results Mean

 

An abnormal result means the artery may be narrowed, or something is changing the blood flow in the carotid arteries. This is a sign of atherosclerosis or other blood vessel conditions.

In general, the more narrowed the artery is, the higher your risk of stroke.

Depending on the results, your doctor may want you to:

  • Consider surgery
  • Have additional tests (such as cerebral angiography, CT angiography, and magnetic resonance angiography)
  • Follow a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent hardening of the arteries
  • Repeat the test again in the future

 

Risks

 

There are no risks with having this procedure.

 

 

References

Daly C, Rodriguez HE. Carotid artery occlusive disease. Surg Clin N Am. 2013;93(4):813-832. PMID: 23885933 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23885933.

Kaufman JA, Nesbit GM. Carotid and vertebral arteries. In: Kaufman JA, Lee MJ, eds. Vascular and Interventional Radiology: The Requisites. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 5.

 
  • Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the left artery

    Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the left artery - illustration

    A carotid arteriogram is an x-ray study designed to determine if there is narrowing or other abnormality in the carotid artery, a main artery to the brain. This is an angiogram of the left common carotid artery (both front-to-back and side views) showing a severe narrowing (stenosis) of the internal carotid artery just beyond the division of the common carotid artery into the internal and external branches.

    Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the left artery

    illustration

  • Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the right artery

    Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the right artery - illustration

    This is an angiogram of the right carotid artery showing a severe narrowing (stenosis) of the internal carotid artery just past the carotid fork. There is enlargement of the artery or ulceration in the area after the stenosis in this close-up film. Note the narrowed segment toward the bottom of the picture.

    Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the right artery

    illustration

  • Carotid duplex

    Carotid duplex - illustration

    Carotid duplex is an ultrasound procedure performed to assess blood flow through the carotid artery to the brain. High-frequency sound waves are directed from a hand-held transducer probe to the area. These waves bounce off the arterial structures and produce a 2-dimensional image on a monitor, which will make obstructions or narrowing of the arteries visible.

    Carotid duplex

    illustration

    • Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the left artery

      Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the left artery - illustration

      A carotid arteriogram is an x-ray study designed to determine if there is narrowing or other abnormality in the carotid artery, a main artery to the brain. This is an angiogram of the left common carotid artery (both front-to-back and side views) showing a severe narrowing (stenosis) of the internal carotid artery just beyond the division of the common carotid artery into the internal and external branches.

      Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the left artery

      illustration

    • Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the right artery

      Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the right artery - illustration

      This is an angiogram of the right carotid artery showing a severe narrowing (stenosis) of the internal carotid artery just past the carotid fork. There is enlargement of the artery or ulceration in the area after the stenosis in this close-up film. Note the narrowed segment toward the bottom of the picture.

      Carotid stenosis, X-ray of the right artery

      illustration

    • Carotid duplex

      Carotid duplex - illustration

      Carotid duplex is an ultrasound procedure performed to assess blood flow through the carotid artery to the brain. High-frequency sound waves are directed from a hand-held transducer probe to the area. These waves bounce off the arterial structures and produce a 2-dimensional image on a monitor, which will make obstructions or narrowing of the arteries visible.

      Carotid duplex

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Self Care

       

        Tests for Carotid duplex

         

         

        Review Date: 6/1/2015

        Reviewed By: Daniel Kantor, MD, Kantor Neurology, Coconut Creek, FL and Immediate Past President of the Florida Society of Neurology (FSN), Gainesville, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Internal review and update on 07/24/2016 by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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