Carotid Ultrasound to Detect Blockage or Narrowing of the Carotid Arteries

Carotid ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to screen patients for blockage or narrowing of their carotid arteries. Carotid arteries are two large arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain. One each side of the neck, there is one carotid artery. Narrowing of this artery increases the risk of stroke.

Carotid ultrasound detects whether plaque has narrowed the arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances that build up on the insides of the arteries. Plaque blocks the flow of blood through the artery leading to the formation of a blood clot. The blood clot can block blood flow to the brain causing a stroke.

The Various Applications of Carotid Ultrasound Are As Given Below:

  • To locate a hematoma that may slow and eventually stop blood flow.
  • To detect split between layers of the carotid artery wall that may lead to obstruction of blood flow or weakening of the wall of the artery.
  • To check the state of the carotid artery after surgery to restore normal blood flow.
  • To verify the position of a metal stent placed to maintain carotid blood flow.
The carotid ultrasound exam is a noninvasive and painless imaging technique and is performed by a specially trained sonographer. During the exam, the patient lies on the examination table and a small gel is applied to the skin to eliminate the formation of air pockets between the skin and the transducer. The transducer is pressed against the sides of the neck to capture images of the arteries.

The entire process takes around half an hour.

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