Carotid Ultrasound

A Carotid ultrasound examines blood flow through your carotid arteries 

The carotid arteries are located on each side of your neck, there are 2.  These arteries deliver blood from your heart to your brain.  Over time the carotid arteries may become blocked or narrowed, increasing your chance of a stroke.  The buildup of plaque in the arteries causing the decreased blood flow is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that circulate in the bloodstream.  

 A Carotid Ultrasound is recommended if you have medical conditions that increase your risk of a stroke

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Family history of stroke or heart disease
  • Abnormal sound in the carotid arteries, called bruit
  • Coronary Artery Disease

To perform a Carotid Ultrasound, a sonographer will place a small amount of gel on the side of your neck.  The transducer, device used to record the activity, is then pressed gently against your neck.  The transducer will relay the pictures to the ultrasound machine and record the blood flow seen through the carotid arteries.  These pictures are then interpreted by a Radiologist and given to your doctor.

If the Carotid Ultrasound reveals you are at risk for a stroke your doctor may recommend

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy weight management
  • Refrain from smoking or being around secondhand smoke
  • Start medications to lower blood cholesterol or blood pressure 
  • Take a medication to prevent blood clot
  • In severe cases referral to a cardiac surgeon who may have to remove the plaque buildup